Note: There’s some back-story here, but for more complete context, I’d
recommend reading “The Touch”, “The Touch: Trina”
The Touch: Alice
By thestatuemaker (ASL275)
Site 11a, Wadi Naveh, 25 miles west of Ankara, Turkey. November 1957
“Damn!” blurted Ian.
Working in the small dark antechamber was hard enough, but the dust was mixing with the sweat dripping into his eyes, making them sting.
“Bloody hell!” he swore again as he squinted at the stone wall “I can’t read these damnable scratches…”
“Relax, Ian, whoever’s in there has been waiting for 2500 years, I don’t think he’s going anyplace in the next little while.”
Ian Holmes turned to glare at his graduate assistant. He wanted to scowl at Alice but instead found himself smiling, his momentary annoyance melting away as she turned on her radiantly insouciant smile. “Let’s get a better light, and it looks like you need a rag…” Alice said, still smiling. He nodded, and took a moment to light a cigarette, something he did mostly when he was anxious.
Alice heard him mutter something that sounded like ‘cheeky American girls’ as she moved the gas lamp closer. The engraved glyphs now seemed to jump from the stone wall in deeply shadowed relief. “Ah,” he said, peering through the ribbons of blue smoke suspended around his head “That’s better.” He paused for a moment, and then looked at her again, fighting not to lose himself again in her light blue eyes. “Allie, remind me again why I’m trying to read this when you’re meant to be the linguist here.” She smiled and he melted yet again. “’cause you need the practice?” she answered rhetorically. He chuckled. “I see . . . now where were we?”
“Son of Gordius …” Alice prompted.
“Yes. Right. Ah! ‘…Son of Gordius, brother of Nessus, High Priest of the Anatolian Order, Hero of Ankara, Protector of the Phyrgean people, Lord of the Capadocians, Friend of Bacchus, Vizar of the Treasury, His Auric Majesty, also known as Mita, Gentle Father, Ruler of Phrygia, Husband of the Touched Dora. Here lies, dead in the 52nd year of his reign…’
“Dammit all Allie - hold the lamp steady!”
“… Midas, King of Phrygia.”
Phrygia. Spring, 718 BCE
The young woman, a handmaiden in the royal palace, stood in the damp, misty rain watching as an endless line of mourners walked slowly past the funeral bier. The bier was laid out on The Kingsway – the “Golden Road” as it was more commonly known – and was startlingly plain for a king. Each person shuffled on, waiting for their turn to pause, reflect, and gaze upon the only King most of them had ever known. Some wept, others were stoic, faces drawn, contemplating an uncertain future. Their King’s more than fifty summers of rule was an unprecedented time of peace and wealth for Phrygia and its vassal states. Under Midas’ firm but enlightened despotism, Phrygia had become known across the world. Two generations lived and died knowing no other ruler than he.
Every mourner knew of the god’s-given gift their King had possessed. The gift had defined Phrygia for so long that many couldn’t conceive of life without the spectacle of The Touch. It had been a blessing for them all – bringing wealth, excitement and beauty into otherwise short and dreary lives. Even the youngest Phyrgean knew how Bacchus, that most mischievous and meddlesome of all gods, saw fit one day to grant their King a unique talent. What came to be known simply as The Touch meant that anything that Midas touched, animal, vegetable, rock - or person - was perfectly preserved forever as pure, glistening gold.
Bacchus had granted this gift for his own amusement, as he always did. A powerful god, he is the embodiment of erotic merriment, pleasure and lust. His appreciation of women is legendary, and to attend an orgy of his devising is to experience sexual indulgence on an heroic scale. Bacchus was always on hand it seemed, in one of his many forms, to watch Midas’ “illuminations”; the bestowing of his Touch upon so many eager women
They came from all over the world: women hoping to become a golden sculpture. The widely held belief was that any woman receiving the Touch remained aware while posed forever as a statue; and Bacchus, with a god’s wisdom, has seen to it that each woman who graced the world with her auric beauty enjoyed an eternity of pleasure said to be so deeply exquisite as to be beyond comprehension. There was never a shortage of women happy to spend eternity posed as a nude statue, forever engulfed in a ceaseless torrent of soul-searing sexual pleasure.
The day’s events were somber, yet few could help but be distracted by the funeral décor. Lining Phrygia’s main avenue was almost every woman upon whom the King had ever bestowed his Touch. Dozens of nude female statues were on display, glowing warmly against the grey sky. The story of each transformed woman was well known to everyone, and they never grew tired of telling visitors the story of each statue. Like everyone else in Phrygia, the young handmaiden knew that these women were aware of their surroundings – if they could but focus for a moment on anything but the unending waves of sexual ecstasy surging through each of them. As people mourned, they were comforted by these familiar figures, and it seemed as if the statues were there to mourn their King. As the misting continued, it seemed that even the statues were weeping.
Among the figures decorating the avenue was the statue that was once the servant Anteia, whose accidental transformation was the first of so many; her unintentionally coy pose making her a sentimental favorite among many. There too was the breathtaking figure of Iris, who with her perfect gilded body was considered the most beautiful of all Midas creations. Astrea, forever posed as a nude huntress, feet apart, muscles taut, her gilded bow eternally drawn. Present too were Marsyas and Phydiea, gilded with their bodies entwined, lips locked in a never-ending Sapphic kiss. The statue Trina was there as well; Trina, who was the only woman to ever be twice-Touched, sat mounted on her phallic pedestal, preserved forever at the peak of her pleasure.
Closely surrounding the sarcophagus stood a number of statues comprising a tableau of bathers; in the center of the scene stood the nude, gilded figure of Midas’ wife, Dora. The former Queen stood immobile, her figure today arranged in such a way as to be staring at the body of her husband. Having received her lord’s Touch many years earlier, Dora had been posed as the central figure in the bathing scene which decorated the palace courtyard, where Midas could visit her often. What he had thought as he gazed at Dora’s ageless golden body, no one could guess. Whether Dora herself could even perceive the day’s events through the maelstrom of sexual ecstasy raging within her was a matter of much current speculation.
Along the avenue stood almost all of the women who would forever grace the city as works of art. Missing only was the golden bathhouse fountain that was once the dancer Chyron, deemed too difficult to move, and Lyssa, the only illuminated woman never displayed publicly. Lyssa was a known favorite of Midas, and many fantastic stories surrounded her transformation. Today the rumor was that the Lyssa statue was to be interred with her King.
The damp afternoon dragged on, mourners trudging past in their slow moving queue. As evening fell, King Midas’ body was taken to be entombed. The rain stopped, and people began to indulge in more traditional funeral celebrations that would last well into the early morning hours. As the wine amphora were unstopped and the crowd became louder, the handmaiden walked towards the King’s tomb, carefully keeping to the shadows…
Site 11a, the Burial Chamber of King Midas, November 1957
As the day workers pried away the large capstone from the entrance, the tomb exhaled a breath of dry, stale air. The original entranceway had partially collapsed, leaving only a small passage through the rubble. Ian thrust the lantern into the narrow opening, but the blackness simply overwhelmed the light. He lit a cigarette. There wasn’t much chance that they were going to be able to dig through the rubble anytime soon with only the two workers the dig’s budget allowed for. He walked back and forth, peering into the opening, taking a drag of his cigarette, repeating the cycle a many times. Finally he ground the cigarette butt out under his work boot and turned to Alice. “Fancy taking a look inside for us Allie?” he asked with a boyish grin.
The Burial Chamber of King Midas, Spring 718 BCE
She was risking her life. If she was wrong, she had doomed herself to a slow, dark, horrible death… but, if she were right… Her heart raced.
She had crouched, small and quiet, in the furthest corner of the tomb as the King’s body was interred
and the huge stone rolled into place with an immense, final *thunk*. She whimpered as she was suddenly plunged into the most perfect darkness she had ever experienced. Trying to control her shaking hands, she reached into a small leather pouch where she had stashed tinder and flint. Working only by feel, she fumbled through preparing the tinder and silently cursed her own nervousness. She fought back a growing wave of panic as she struck the flint again and again without effect. Each spark left a searing trail of light in the inky void, providing momentary glimpses of her surroundings and leaving shadowy trails of blues and purples before her eyes. She began to perspire in spite of the coolness inside the tomb. Finally, a tiny flame erupted; she blew on it carefully until she was satisfied that it was burning, and quickly reached for the pitch-soaked torch she had brought. Only then did she allow herself to start breathing again.
The burial chamber was suffused with a warm glow as the torch ignited. Quickly now, she thought, this torch will last but moments. Taking the iron bar she had kissed the stonemason’s apprentice to get, she tried to move the lid of the sarcophagus. The torchlight flickered. Gods, give me the strength, she prayed. When at first the lid didn’t move, another wave of cold dread washed over her. Try it again, she thought. Groaning against the bar, she felt it move ever so slightly. Easy now . . . a little bit at a time . . . there! With each try the lid moved a bit more and soon she had moved it just enough to reach her hand into the sarcophagus.
She moved the torch closer.
The Burial Chamber of King Midas, November 1957
Perspiring in spite of the cool, desiccated air in the tomb, Alice reflected back on all she had read about Phyrgean discoveries and research in the area of Wadi Naveh, the site of a temple complex near Ankara. Of the ten producing sites, local goatherds discovered Caves One, Two and Four between 1947 and 1952. Archeologists had found Three, Five and Seven through Ten in the years 1952 to 1955. Cave Three is particularly famous for its golden scrolls. These scrolls, originally a single document, are together some three meters long, engraved with a monumental script of the fourth century B.C. They were found to contain an inventory of a buried treasure horde; mostly listing gilded statuary and small ornamental gold objects.
After the close of the expedition that had systematically searched the area around the wadi, goatherds had again taken to the field in the summer of 1952 and discovered Cave Four, containing a large cache of manuscripts. Archeologists had rushed back into the desert in time to halt clandestine digging before the cave had been looted completely. In September of 1952 they completed controlled excavations with good results: enough undisturbed fragments were discovered to insure the provenance of the material previously brought from the cave by the goatherds. Cave Four ultimately yielded the remains of some two hundred manuscripts, many very fragmented and in an advanced state of decay. Alice probably knew more about these scrolls than anyone else on earth.
Gordian Palace, the King’s Chambers, Autumn 732 BCE
She watched in awe as the King and Lyssa made love. The young girl loved Lyssa, the elegantly beautiful daughter of Aetes. Although she was herself young and pretty, she could scarcely imagine that anyone could be more beautiful than Lyssa. And now she saw Lyssa as even more beautiful than ever, writhing with pleasure, coated in sweet oil and sweat. The scent of Lyssa’s arousal permeated even the far dark corner where the young handmaiden was hiding, still and small.
She had been watching transfixed for quite some time when she heard Midas say, “It’s time my love.” Lyssa only nodded. The girl’s eyes widened as she saw Midas bring his gloved hand to Lyssa’s hair. Lyssa screamed her pleasure and began to move with a frenzied passion. Again and again, the King lightly brushed his hand across his lover’s body. Each time the girl heard Lyssa cry out in astonished delight.
Puzzled at first, the girl quickly understood. She was watching a most beautiful demonstration: the slow transformation of Lyssa from living woman into golden sculpture. By touching Lyssa with the smallest possible patch of skin, Midas was able to savor Lyssa’s transformation, allowing her to make love to him while they both reveled in her metamorphosis. The girl watched, eyes wide, as Lyssa’s motions became slower and slower and her skin began to turn more golden. Tender words passed between the lovers and the girl saw that her King suddenly looked very, very sad.
Lyssa had gone silent, her stock-still body glowing with a rich yellow hue. Midas continued to thrust into the newly created statue for a few moments more, suddenly arching his back and crying out. He lay atop Lyssa for quite some time, crying softly, before withdrawing himself from the golden figure. The girl watched Midas go into his bath – was he sobbing? Without hesitation, she raced into the chamber, knowing full well what could happen if she were discovered there.
Lyssa lay before her, frozen in the throes of her ecstasy. The girl ran her hand across the still warm figure. The detail of Lyssa’s nor frozen, golden body was exquisite. She was perfectly preserved at the very peak of her pleasure. She ran her hands across the statue’s taut belly and over its full breasts, lingering momentarily around the golden hardness of the thick, erect nipples. Her hands ran down the figure, past the curly golden hair between its legs, startled by the openness of its sex. Trembling, she slid a finger inside and felt the slippery wetness of her King’s seed. An unfamiliar moist warmth spread in her loins as she trembled with excitement.
…only once did a woman succeed in this, when Dismonde surprised everyone and rushed from the crowd to brush the King’s hand. Her husband, an unpleasant and loutish man, tried to stop her. But Dismonde had planned her gilding well, and was instantly immobilized with one arm outstretched touching the King’s hand, the other flowing gracefully behind; her long legs wonderfully graceful and a look of absolute joy on her face. Like all before her, she instantly became motionless, and would have toppled but for the actions of bystanders. Immobile but trembling, her body transformed completely into gold within a few heartbeats. The new statue’s clothing was cut away and she was mounted on a pedestal. It was quickly discovered that during the commotion, one of the dressing maids, a lithe young girl aptly named Auria was accidentally Touched. Lord Midas was exceptionally troubled by that, but no one doubted that Auria herself was perfectly happy with the turn of events. Auria too had her clothing cut away and was mounted for display. Today her slender nude figure decorates the entrance to the guest wing of the palace.
The woman whose gilding was actually intended for that day would later choose a pose identical to Dimonde’s, and today the twin statues frame the entrance to the royal Library.
Excerpt from the Celaenae Codex, ca. 550 BCE
Phrygia, Spring 718 BCE
The handmaiden had thought of nothing else since hearing of Midas’ death. Like everyone, she was deeply saddened, but very soon her sadness replaced by an intense excitement as an idea began to form in her mind. Later, when she heard that the Lyssa-statue was to be sealed in along with the King, her decision was made.
She had never forgotten what she had seen as a young girl, and she felt as if her life had changed forever that evening. Her duties gave her the run of the palace and she would steal into the King’s bedchamber to visit her Lyssa-statue whenever she could. She would lovingly caress it, sucking first on one of the permanently erect nipples and then on the other, her finger deep in the statue’s sex. She would imagine that she too was a nude statue, posed in a lover’s embrace with her Lyssa. On festival days, she would make small sacrifices to Bacchus, praying for him to take pity her and turn her into a gold statue, posed as elegantly as the other gilded women that graced the public places of the city.
She would spend hours with Lyssa, striking different poses and trying to remain as still as possible, not wanting to destroy the illusion that she too was a beautiful golden statue. She tried to imagine what Lyssa was feeling inside the golden figure she had become. She would lay quietly with an ear to the statue’s lips, trying to hear a moan or a whisper - any clue to the eternity of inconceivable pleasure that she knew was raging inside her Lyssa.
Oh - how exquisite that must feel! She would hide away and pleasure herself for hours, imagining she was gilded in an auric embrace with her beloved Lyssa. She would climax intensely, gasping as her body was wracked by pleasure. But as the pleasure would subside into a dull afterglow, she would know that she had felt only a whisper of the profound delight surging ceaselessly through Lyssa. She was obsessed with the statue; and she came to believe that her destiny was to be a statue. She scarcely thought of anything else.
It was all so clear to her. Ever since she was a little girl she would feel giddy and lightheaded when hearing stories about the King’s Touch; tales that told of the Touch as the most beautiful gift a woman could ever receive. As a handmaiden, she had seen countless women beg the King for it. Twice - and she remembered each time in aching detail – she was close at hand as a beautiful woman would stand naked on her pedestal, trembling with fear, arousal and anticipation while awaiting the King’s preserving gift. Court artisans would be on hand, circling like clucking hens, adjusting the woman’s pose, making sure the tilt of her head, the sweep of her arms, the position of her fingers were all just so. Once, she was told to tease the soon-to-be-statues’ nipples to stiff fullness with her fingers. She felt the heat of the excited woman’s body; and she smelled her arousal.
And the change itself! The intensity of the joy she felt watching each woman become a statue frightened her. She stood as closely as she could and could see the nude woman’s smooth flesh, hear her fast, shallow breathing and see her trembling excitement. The crowds of spectators that these transformations drew were always quietly expectant. Often the King would say something to the soon-to-be statue, or ask her a question before she became forever mute. Then quickly, without flourish, the King would remove one of the golden gloves he always wore to prevent accidents. This was a time when the King’s guards were most alert, because on occasion a woman would rush from the crowd and try to throw herself at the King’s ungloved hand.
He would look into the trembling woman’s eyes and ask if she were ready. More often than not, too nervous and excited to speak, the woman would only smile. Allowing her to recompose her face Midas would bestow his Touch upon her, sometimes upon the breast or nipple, once even directly into the woman’s sex. The next moments always passed too quickly for the crowd: the Touched women always seemed to gasp – and many cried out in sheer delight. They would become immobile and begin to tremble, their nipples tightening even more while a delicious smell of female arousal would fill the air. From the spot of the Touch, a golden circle would begin to spread, and, as the spot grew, the golden parts of the woman’s body would cease to tremble. Finally, all motion ceased forever as the wave of gold engulfed her; where only moments before there was a living woman, now stood a flawlessly detailed golden statue. Midas would slowly walk around the figure, admiring it from every angle until finally he would don his glove, pleased with the art he had created. With this, the crowd would gently murmur its approval and many earnest discussions would begin about where to best place the new statue.
The spectacle of seeing a woman transformed into golden sculpture would leave the handmaiden in an uncontainable sexual frenzy. Her need for relief would be so great that she would have no choice but to find some hidden place and bring herself to a shuddering climax, over and over again…
The Burial Chamber of King Midas, November 1957
The air was dry and stale. It smells old, Alice thought as she waited for her eyes to adjust to the darkness. As far as she could see, the tomb’s contents appeared to be intact, which would guarantee the dig’s funding for at least next season. She played the beam of the electric torch across the artifacts around her: ceramic vessels, juglets and amphorae, inscribed stele, and classical Phrygian pottery with rustic motifs. Her wide eyes took it all in. At the center of the room, on a raised platform, stood what could only be the sarcophagus of the King himself. Alice’s heart raced at the thought of it: Midas! As she approached she could see that the lid of the sarcophagus was slightly askew. That’s odd… As she looked more closely, she saw a hint of gold peeking out. Intrigued, she peered into the opening and let out a startled gasp at the unexpected sight of a golden hand sticking out of the sarcophagus. Staring at it, Alice imagined that the owner was beckoning her to look even more closely.
Well, that certainly rules out tomb robbers, she thought, still staring at the hand, which now appeared to be wearing a golden glove. On top of the sarcophagus lay what looked to be the remains of a torch. Perhaps someone had been in the chamber after the King was interred. Impossible, she thought, the tomb was clearly sealed from the outside. She shook her head. Was there another entrance perhaps? Possible, but who would go through the trouble to break in and then leave gold artifacts behind?
Probably just a careless worker, she reasoned. She shivered and shined the light into the sarcophagus to examine the hand more closely.
The Burial Chamber of King Midas, Spring 718 B.C.E.
Still shaking, the handmaiden slowly reached into the sarcophagus. With a bronze knife, she cut away the linen strips which swaddled the King’s upper body. Then she gingerly pulled out the stiffened arm. Slowly, she told herself, carefully . . . Ah! The glove! She reached again into her leather pouch and retrieved a bone needle.
Placing the torch on the stone lid of the sarcophagus, she took the needle and carefully pierced the glove at the index finger. She knew that by placing the tiniest of holes in the gold glove, and by touching only the smallest bit of the King’s skin, she would transform slowly, just as Lyssa had done that extraordinary evening years ago. She had gambled her life on this one moment – on her own belief that the King’s Touch would transcend his death – and she laughed with joy as the bone needle, contacting the King’s skin, turned to gold in her hand. She had been right! Her hands trembled with intense excitement - in just moments she would be a statue, just as she had wished all these years. I was meant to become a statue. Giddy with excitement, she reached out with her finger - her only single thought the Touch of her dead King.
In the flickering torchlight, she drew a breath as she touched her index finger to the spot where she had pierced the glove. In that instant a lightning bolt of pure, searing pleasure shot directly through to her sex and she gasped in astonished delight…
The Burial Chamber of King Midas, November 1957
Alice had examined the mummified remains as closely as she dared without Ian. She was about to respond to his insistent plea for information when her electric torch caught a figure standing near the far wall of the room. She was startled, but quickly collected herself and called up for a gas lantern to be passed through the narrow opening. She retrieved the lantern and walked gingerly to the far side of the chamber, careful to not to disturb anything. The gas lantern hissed warmly, and cast long deep shadows as she examined the figure.
At first its dull, dirty yellowness made her think that it may have been a painted wooden carving. Gingerly, she rubbed a bit of the artifact with her fingertip and was rewarded with a bright circle of gold. The statue was smooth and metallic, certainly not painted wood or stone. In fact, she recalled that unlike other classical civilizations, the Phyrgeans left behind no stone statuary at all. She was always surprised that the literature didn’t make more of a thing of that.
She suddenly realized that she was looking at two statues as she now saw a reclining nude as well. My goodness, they’re beautiful, she thought as the light danced across the figures, which glowed dully under the dust of twenty-five centuries. Her eyes were wide and she continued to stand rooted in place, staring slack jawed. She rested a gentle hand on the statue – the two statues! Somehow they seemed separate – yet they complimented each other so well. As she looked more closely, she could see that instead of being one sculpture, they were indeed two very individual figures, each exquisitely detailed. One was an absolutely beautiful woman, nude, posed on her back, her face wearing what struck Alice as a look of lustful rapture. Lustful rapture? When did classical statuary ever appear lustful? she asked herself. The standing nude leaned over the reclining statue, kissing it.
Without realizing it, Alice had begun to draw lazy circles with her finger around the thick golden nipple of the reclined figure. She traced a line through the dust, between the statues breasts, down its flat belly, past the patch of golden pubic hair. She let out a startled cry as her finger found the statue’s sex. Walking around, she shined the light between the figure’s legs and was astounded to see a flawlessly rendered open vagina, the open lips incredibly detailed. Never before had archeology described anything even remotely like this, yet there it was before her: an anatomically correct statue, wrought to the finest level of detail in what appeared to be pure gold.
At the feet of the standing figure – which remarkably wasn’t on a pedestal but rather appeared to be simply standing – was a wooden tablet. The dry air preserved the wood, desiccating it just as it had mummified the king, Alice thought as she bent down to pick up the tablet. Her training was all but forgotten now in her excitement, yet she still had the presence of mind to handle the piece delicately, half expecting it to crumble to dust in her hand. Any thought, however, of properly cataloguing and photographing the artifact in situ never even registered with her. Angling it towards the light, she saw the unique characters known to scholars as ‘early Linear D cuneiform’, which represented the everyday alphabet of the ancient Phyrgeans, as well as some of the other non-nomadic peoples in the area. Alice was easily able to translate the markings in the wood:
It was then she noticed that the standing statue’s hand was buried in its own sex…
The Burial Chamber of King Midas, Spring 718 BCE
Nothing in her life prepared Alena for what came next. Her knees buckled as a bolt of indescribable pleasure lanced through her. Focused thought became almost impossible as every fiber of her body was engulfed in searing pleasure - wave upon wave of it roaring through her; one blinding orgasm tumbling across the other, blending into a mind-bending surge of pleasure so intense that she felt as if she would explode. She almost dropped the wooden tablet into which she had scratched her name and Lyssa’s, which she had intended to place as a sort of memorial to the sculpture that they would become.
Although she was careful to put nothing but the smallest of holes in the Kings glove, her transformation was happening much more rapidly than she had planned. She knew she didn’t have much time to assume with Lyssa the pose that she had dreamed of for so long. She struggled towards the statue, which reclined on a plinth along the far wall. It was all she could do to walk. She felt her body stiffening and thought how easy it would be to just give in to the pleasure – to stop struggling, assume a pose where she was and just become the statue she had dreamed of being. Thoughts and actions were rapidly becoming more difficult until, in a flash of complete clarity, she understood that she needed to assume her planned pose RIGHT NOW. In only moments she would be a statue and she wanted to be a preserved in a position worthy of the auric gift she had stolen.
Summoning her last shred of will, she bent over to kiss her love: a pose Lyssa had dreamed about being in forever and one hoped would be pleasing to anyone who, in some future time, may chance to see the statue she had become. She was suddenly aware that her hand was on her own sex, but that thought was immediately lost in explosion of pleasure so intensely pure and powerful that nothing as trivial as moving or thinking would ever matter again to Alena.
The Burial Chamber of King Midas, Friday, November 22, 1957
The standing figure was of a young woman – lovingly kissing the reclining figure. The figure’s other hand explored its own sex. A nude masturbating statue? Alice became flush at the thought. She had never heard of anything like this in her entire professional life. While graphic erotic imagery was well known throughout the ancient Mediterranean, never had an artifact of such powerful, purposeful eroticism ever been catalogued. It was a find that would surely put Ian – and her – foursquare into the archeological limelight. But the thought passed quickly as realized that her sexual arousal was becoming extreme; the raw eroticism of the statues was creating an urgent warm wetness between her legs.
As a graduate student, Alice had a doctoral advisor whose connection with the Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara had given him access to the Wadi Naveh fragments, and Alice had decided to base her thesis work on her examination of this windfall. The text she had translated was stuff right out of Edith Hamilton’s ‘Mythology’, the very tales of gods and heroes that so fascinated Alice as a teenager and first piqued her interest in archeology.
Alice always somehow felt connected with the story of King Midas. As a young girl she would read over and over the part of the story where Midas, who, delirious with happiness at his newfound power, sat down for his noonday meal. As soon as he would pick up a morsel to eat, it would turn to gold; trying to drink, his wine would transform into a golden lump as soon as it touched his lips. King Midas began to panic. His beloved daughter, alarmed at his new predicament, ran to hug and comfort him, but as he wrapped his arms around her, she was instantly turned into a golden statue. It was then, according to the story, that Midas realized his mistake and, hungry, thirsty and heartbroken, begged Bacchus to release him of his “gift”. Alice was enthralled by the image of the daughter’s transformation and often would imagine herself as that golden statue. She would pose in front of the mirror in her bedroom, trying to remain as still as possible for as long as she could, never understanding exactly why that excited her so much.
Alice completed her thesis, but never worked up the courage to put it front of the review committee. She was unsure of exactly what a committee of her advisor’s peers would make of what she had translated, and she feared that her interpretation would be ridiculed, ending her career before it even started. What Alice had been handed were apparently some of the earliest seminal versions of the story of King Midas – perhaps even the source used by Ovid himself in his classical descriptions of the King’s tale. What bothered Alice though was how absolutely absurd the document contents seemed: names and descriptions of women turned into statues by Midas, text of their original petitions for transformation, details of how they were posed and of where they were displayed. Other fragments spoke of the Midas “touch” as if it were real, describing the transformation of these women in great detail; there was even an account of one woman returned to human form by the god Bacchus himself. And to Alice, the accounts felt real; they didn’t read like mythology. The details were just too explicit and matter-of-fact. The prose style was identical to that of other accounts of known historical events, and the inventories used the same court shorthand as other official documents of the time. Alice found her imagination running wild. She was a young girl again, believing that she had been turned into a golden statue, and she hoped with a secret thrill that the story of King Midas could somehow be real.
‘Just once did Bacchus see fit to reverse my Touch and restore to flesh one of my statues. Ah, that poor woman. Truly a pitiable creature - never before had I seen a person so miserable. We spoke soon after her return to human form. She told me that she had no words to describe the gods-given delight that she enjoyed as a statue. Nor did she have words to express the utter desolation she felt now without it.
I begged her to try, quickly summoning a scribe to capture her words, for after speaking with her I knew that I had no choice but to again Touch her. These are her words:
‘As I stood posed, waiting for your immortalizing Touch, a surge of anticipation overcame me - for the first time since my beloved husband disappeared, I felt desire. In that moment, I was a woman again and at first I thought it would pass, but it quickly became a longing unlike any I have ever felt. My loins became wet and it was all I could do to keep my pose; my body craved release and I fought to keep my hands still, for I desperately wanted to pleasure myself . . . Then I saw you raise your hand to my face . . .
Oh, that Touch! It is unspeakably delicious my lord, yet only a glimmer of what was to come. As you caressed me, I felt a deep, warm pleasure wash across my cheek; it quickly spread over me and grew into an inexpressible joy. A pleasure more deeply satisfying than any I’ve ever known blossomed inside me and engulfed my entire body. I could feel myself trembling; I wanted to scream my joy but found no voice, my entire body was rooted in place. I was unable to move.
The thought that I was becoming a statue passed briefly, quickly eclipsed by another intensely beautiful climax erupting inside me, followed by another and yet another. Had I not been frozen in place, I would have fallen to my knees and wept at the incredible waves of pleasure thundering through me. I could see the crowd, and I heard them cheering my transformation. I was overcome by another, more powerful
am a statue”.
“No sooner did I realize that I had become a statue than a starburst of indescribable pleasure overwhelmed me completely. It was a pleasure so powerful as to make my earlier ecstasy feel as a gentle summer shower to a tempest. Wave after wave after wave of unspeakable delight wracked my body, one coming atop the other so quickly as to feel continuous. All sight and sound around me became meaningless as I succumbed to the ecstasy now raging through my entire body. Never could I describe the intensity of the pleasure that unceasingly welled up and exploded throughout my body...”
“If I cannot have that again, I no longer wish to live . . . ’
Fragment of the Gordian 3 Codex, ca. 700 B.C.E., reference unknown.
Ankara Turkey, The Anatolian Civilizations Museum, Tuesday, November 26, 1957
In the week following her first foray into the burial chamber and her discovery of the golden statues, Alice found herself with the Anatolian Civilizations Museum associate curator of Phrygian antiquities, being shown the cross-referenced index file the curator maintained. First she looked up the word “Alena” and wasn’t particularly surprised when she didn’t find anything. She then looked up “Lyssa” and was startled to see three references. She wrote down the catalogue numbers and went to the museum’s research wing to pull the microfiche.
She had lied to Ian. ‘A dry hole’ she had called it, defying all of her professional ethics in a logic-breaking, potentially career-ending move. And yesterday, while the day laborers were preparing their next site, she made the not-entirely-untrue excuse to Ian about having some pressing research to do. Now she found herself, as when she was preparing her thesis, again lost in seemingly impossible descriptions and accounts. As she read through the passages, she felt her palms beginning to sweat in the cotton gloves she wore when handling the fragments. The manuscripts themselves were pressed between glass, and she poured over stacks of them, lost in the words she translated. Only when she stopped to request more leaves of codex from the assistant curator did she realize how profoundly the words had touched her. She was aroused – sexually excited to the point of distraction. The very thought of what she might read in the new batches of text made her breathing fast and shallow.
She had called for many texts that she knew hadn’t yet been studied in detail - that hadn’t been read in over 2500 years. A truly extraordinary notion in itself had she paused sufficiently long to think about it. She was completely lost in the astonishing content and detailed descriptions, utterly convinced that what she was reading were eyewitness accounts of real events, not myths or fables written to awe or entertain. But how could any of it possibly be true? The very idea of transforming a woman into a statue of gold hardly merited serious contemplation, but how could she ignore what she was reading?
Alice read through page after page of detailed accounts: names and circumstances of women, disposition of petitions, dates of transformation, pose and placement of the finished pieces. All reported in the same matter of fact manner as wars, tax and trade – no embellishment, no flowery verbiage usually associated with myths and stories. All the facts were there for her. She quickly began to enjoy the same thoughts she had as a young girl; basking in the old, warm eroticism of imagining herself a golden statue. But the mental image had changed – no longer was she a young girl, accidentally touched by a careless but doting father Midas, but now a grown woman rendered in gold as an erotically posed nude statue. She knew that she had dreamt her whole life of being a statue, but right now she couldn’t imagine anything more exciting.
As an undergraduate, Alice had her first same-sex encounter with a very pretty Chemistry major named Tracey. She had seen Tracey come out of the shower one evening, wearing nothing but a white towel wrapped turban style around her head, and knew she had to kiss her. Soon, the two became clandestine lovers. They experimented with many forms of erotic play, but Alice’s hands-down favorite was a game where one of them would yell “Freeze!”, the other having then to remain completely immobile in whatever pose she happened to be in, no matter what was being done to her. Alice enjoyed caressing and teasing Tracey’s frozen body but truly craved being on display for her lover. Once, when Tracey decided to leave Alice frozen for an unusually long time, she was astonished to find Alice so excited that a thin trickle of juice was running down her inner thigh. Allie often wanted to ask Tracey to freeze together with her in a lovers embrace, but never worked up the nerve. Alice still thought about Tracey and their statue games often when she masturbated.
The codex pages gave her an understanding that made her lightheaded with arousal. Not only were these women rendered as art, preserved forever at the height of their beauty; they also enjoyed a gift of what was described consistently by multiple different sources as eternal ecstasy. As Alice read, she began to understand more clearly the gift of unearthly erotic pleasure each one of these statues had received. That Alena and Lyssa were still experiencing! She reeled at the very idea of it and struggled to imagine what that could possibly be like. She tried to recall the most powerful orgasm she had ever experienced, focusing on that one moment when the pleasure was most intense, when her sense of self vanished, lost in the waves of excruciatingly sweet release. Then she tried to imagine that one moment stretching into minutes… then hours... then days… Her mind raced at the thought of an unending torrent of intense orgasmic pleasure engulfing her entire body; every minute of every day, for all time. No pain, no sadness, no death - nothing but an eternity of unimaginable ecstasy. And to be a statue! Alone, the thought of being mounted and displayed for other to enjoy made her knees weak. But to be locked in perpetual orgasm! She hoped she could hold off from touching herself long enough to make it back to the hotel.
As soon as she returned to her Ankara hotel room, she locked the door and ripped off her clothes. Alice indulged her fantasies, bringing herself to the edge of release over and over. Teasing herself into a frenzy, she’d stop at the edge of release and freeze into a pose, not moving a muscle, just as she had as a young girl. She remained motionless for a very long time, imagining herself another golden statue, posed with Lyssa and Alena - the three figures together as a beautiful erotic sculpture. And then, with those images burning in her mind, she brought herself to a series of glorious orgasms. Later, she lay in bed, drenched in sweat and her juice, her sex aching from her own agonizingly merciless teasing and repeated release. As she stared up at the slowly rotating ceiling fan, a plan coalesced in her mind.
Site 11a, Wadi Naveh – December 1957
Alice found it impossible to focus on anything over the next few days. Splitting her time between the new dig site and the museum archives, she thought of nothing but Lyssa and Alena. Several evenings had seen her sneak off to the chamber she was able to still spend time alone with them as the dig was now focused elsewhere. Ian was away consolidating his field notes and hiring more workers as the new site – Number 12b, was proving interesting. During those evenings, she spent a lot of her time examining the statues in detail; each inspection convincing her further that these were indeed living women transmuted to gold. The detail of their hair and musculature, the incredible realism of their perfectly formed genitals, the erotic delight apparent in their expressions all convinced her beyond a doubt.
Do you know I’m here? She thought, Can you even be aware of anything but the pleasure? She would hold her breath as she placed her ear to the statues’ lips, wondering if she might hear a moan. Alice understood it all now. She knew why so many women had wanted to become statues. And she knew many of them were just like her: they dreamed of being mounted and displayed, of being beautiful forever, enraptured by the idea of endless orgasmic bliss. She knew what she needed to do, and she had a week before Ian returned.
One night, two weeks after she had first crawled into the King’s chamber, Alice emerged quietly out of her tent wearing only a robe.
The Gordian Palace, late Summer 717 B.C.E.
The old woman’s mind wandered as she swept the floors. This morning, for some strange reason, she had thought about that pretty maid, Alena. It occurred to the old woman that she hadn’t seen her in many months. Must have run away, the old woman thought, Silly girl . . .
The Burial Chamber of King Midas, Monday, December 9, 1957
The desert was cold and still as she had walked briskly to the dig entrance. She had walked in darkness, not wanting to attract any unwanted attention by using her electric torch. The moon was new, and the stars wheeled magnificently overhead, impossibly vivid. She paused, and for a moment thought of returning to her tent. I’ll probably be walking back this way in a little while feeling really stupid, she thought. But she knew that if she didn’t see this thing through now – tonight – she would regret it for her entire life. If she was wrong, if it all was nothing more than an elaborate myth she had talked herself into, she knew her disappointment would be crushing and she would almost definitely need to re-think her career. But she would have tried it – and known for sure. Not knowing would haunt her forever.
She crawled through the narrow opening and entered the chamber. Once inside, she slipped off her robe. Her heart was pounding hard in her chest. It was cool in the tomb and her nipples, which seemed to be perpetually hard lately, stiffened even more. Gods, she thought, you could hang a coat on them… They ached sweetly, and she again fought back the urge to touch herself. She was dripping wet, as she had been constantly for days. Lately she had started wearing pads because she was soaking through her panties and work khakis with alarming frequency.
From what she had read, Alice knew that Touched women became statues very quickly, with the subject immediately becoming immobile. Alice imagined that if she could put only the tiniest of holes in the King’s glove, she might slow her transformation enough to be able to walk across the chamber before she solidified completely. She checked again to make sure that the three steel needles she had taped to the flashlight were still there.
Alice had spent a lot of time fantasizing how she would pose with Lyssa and Alena. She couldn’t think of anything else as she the spent long hours in the hotel room or in her tent pleasuring herself. Never before had she been so profoundly arousal for so long; her need was insatiable. Tonight, she had come directly from the hotel in Ankara, where she had bathed for hours and indulged in a manicure and a pedicure. Her long dark hair, which was usually tied back at the dig site, tonight cascaded down to the middle of her back; her body was lean and taut, and she imagined that she’d make a very lovely statue. Her heart was racing and she felt as if she would orgasm spontaneously just thinking about what tonight might bring.
London, The British Museum, present day
The old gentleman walked slowly through the wrought iron gate into the museum’s indoor courtyard, taking a moment to absently grind his cigarette butt beneath his heel. This cigarette was one of many he smoked on his slow walk north up Drury Lane. He knew he shouldn’t smoke, but he was old and somethings become less concerning over time. The young woman sitting behind the large circular desk selling special exhibit tickets watched him. She had had seen him often and thought him a very cultured elderly man. She flashed her nicest smile at him as he politely asked for a ticket to the Turkish Antiquities exhibition. He smiled boyishly at her as he handed over his £10 fee for the special exhibition.
Ian didn’t much like the renovated museum; he had always enjoyed its former aristocratic seediness and missed the musty, scholarly feel it used to have. As he passed through the Babylonian and Sumerian collections on the main floor and crossed over to the Egyptian section, he stopped at the Rosetta Stone. When he was much younger, he would often come here to see the Stone, running his hand across it, amazed that he could actually touch the thing that was the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs, something which had stumped scholars for a millennium. He sighed; the curators kept the Stone under Plexiglas now. It was the story of the Rosetta Stone that had ignited in him an interest in archeology which was to become his life’s passion, and he found himself wishing he could touch it just once more. Ian sighed again, turning his back on the Stone and leaving it to the crowding tourists.
As he made his way towards the exhibition, he reflected on the notoriety he had enjoyed for almost half a century as the world’s foremost expert on ancient Phrygian culture. He thought back over the last few years and realized that they had been too quiet, interrupted now only by occasional speaking engagements dinners and sundry collegial correspondence. He hadn’t written a single article in over three years. The arrival of this exhibition in London had brought him out of his complacency and going to view it brought back old memories every time.
The Burial Chamber of King Midas, Monday, December 9, 1957
Alice felt herself shaking as she reached for the mummy’s gloved hand. She couldn’t really believe what she was about to do – unable to truly accept what might happen next. She felt that everything in her life had led her to be right here, right now, at the cusp of realizing a life-long fantasy. She always dreamed of being a statue, and now her bizarre fantasy may actually become reality… A gilded nude statue! Her heart almost leapt out of her chest.
She had always been profoundly excited by the notion of being mounted and displayed. She would imagine her immobilized body on view for people at a party – strangers who would pause to examine her as they would a piece of art. She loved the thought of being an object, and the peaceful detachment from everyday life she imagined that would bring. She was naturally lean and tried to keep herself fit, happy to know that would she would be a beautiful sculpture. She had kept these desires under control, not really understanding them but knowing that they made her feel unlike anything else she could imagine. The last week had brought her deepest fantasies gushing forth; a relentless torrent rushing through the ruptured dam of her subconscious, threatening to inundate her completely.
She had left a note in her tent for Ian. If this evening turned out to be just a jumped-up erotic fantasy, she would return to her tent, rip it up, and make up some story trying to explain to him why she lied about the tomb being empty. But if she were right, if the mummified hand of Midas still had the gift of The Touch, then she would never leave the tomb again.
London, present day
Ian walked back up the Kings Road from Sloane Square tube. He loved living in Chelsea and always enjoyed walking the High Street, or going a bit off the beaten path to see the mansion blocks and glimpse the private gardens.
His trips to the Museum were always a source of great pleasure. To see the result of a life well-lived, of a brilliant career, all carefully curated by the British museum’s world class staff and enjoyed by countless visitors, was deeply, deeply satisfying. But for some reason today, he thought about his long-ago graduate assistant, Allie. The note she left always troubled him. To leave archeology before she ever understood the joy such work could bring, he thought. Silly girl…
The Burial Chamber of King Midas, Monday, December 9, 1957
Carefully, using the field techniques of a trained archeologist and ensuring she touched only the mummy’s gloved hand, Alice produced one of the steel needles and carefully punctured the glove’s brittle silk at the tip of Midas’ index finger. The weak flashlight she had brought along made it impossible to tell if the needle had turned to gold.
Allie couldn’t seem to catch her breath and she felt lightheaded from arousal and anticipation. She looked again at the glove. She had thought about this moment for long days and nights and wanted to savor it for a few seconds more. She had thought endlessly about the pose she’d would be preserved in, if – IF – things went to plan; thought about how she, Alena and Lyssa would be posed forever as a single erotic tableau.
Almost without thinking, she leaned over the sarcophagus and touched Midas’ mummified index finger to her left nipple. The pleasure came as a shock, and in spite of it being the thing she expected and hoped for, she gasped in surprised amazement. She felt both of her nipples harden and she began lubricating furiously. Yet, somehow, this seemed less… immediate. She hadn’t really known what to expect but she certainly didn’t expect to be able to feel so present – to be able to observe her own transformation so clearly.
The pleasure came in waves, slowly at first, becoming a series of small, constant waves rippling through her. She had no idea how much time she might have until she petrified completely, and she wanted to be sure that when she did become a statue, she would be posed with Alena and Lyssa in the position she had planned. She walked over to the statues and felt the reclining sculpture’s open sex. She explored its frozen, eternally erect clitoris before sliding two fingers of her left hand deep into the statue’s opening. Was the statue aware of her intrusion? Or was she as lost as Allie was becoming, just with a two-thousand-year head start?
Allie had decided that she wanted to be preserved in a masturbating pose, similar to the other standing figure, but not bent over. She wanted to be revealed completely, explicitly, on display at the peak of her sexual arousal. She yearned to be posed this way – to feel this way – forever.
As she settled into her pose, Allie noticed that the less she moved, the more intense the pleasure became. She could focus on it, feel it welling up inside of her and then flattening out, keeping her at the edge of the most incredible orgasm she could ever imagine. The pleasure rose and fell in an escalating cycle of pleasure, bringing her tantalizingly close to orgasm but not tipping over to release. It was exquisite, but she knew this was a mere inkling of what was to come.
The hand, she thought when she had a moment of clarity… Two thousand years and it still can turn me to gold. Just more…slowly… Then thought disappeared and she was lost again in the pleasure.
The Burial Chamber of King Midas, Thursday, December 12, 1957
Time no longer mattered to Allie as wave after wave protracted, otherworldly pleasure reverberated through her. These long slow waves that swelled inside of her weren’t exactly orgasms. Not yet. She knew she hadn’t crossed that threshold. The pleasure simply grew stronger each time. It was leading to a rapture she couldn’t yet begin to conceive, but when? Hours? Days? Years? She didn’t care, the pleasure would have made her scream her throat raw if she were able, but at some point she had become a statue. She didn’t know exactly when that had happened and she didn’t care, but there she stood, nude, frozen, with starbursts of pleasure exploding inside of her. When she could focus, she could see that her arm had turned to gold.
And then she was gone again, lost in the ceaseless torrent of ecstasy…
The Burial Chamber of King Midas, Saturday, December 14, 1957
It was impossible to think. Who was she? Was she ever someone or was she always just *here*? A perfectly rendered statue of a nude, masturbating woman. And the other statues? Who were they?
Sometimes, she could almost remember, but it was becoming very difficult to focus on anything except the ecstasy that now thundered through her in great crashing waves. They were almost like orgasms now, exquisite otherworldly orgasms, each unearthly in its intensity, each morel incredible than the one immediately before.
Allie – Yes, that was who she was – Allie remembered that now. She was a statue. A statue called Allie. And her friends were statues too. And she remembered that just for a the briefest of moments until the pleasure was again all that there was in the universe.
The Burial Chamber of King Midas, Sunday, January 5, 1958
The explosion that happened inside of her was titanic, and it would have shattered her mind had she not already been a golden statue when it happened. If everything the Allie-statue had felt up to now was a warm flickering flame of pleasure, this was a white-hot supernova that just kept going, on and on.
Her last thought, before she was lost in her eternal auric ecstasy, was that she was, finally, happy.
Site 11a, Wadi Naveh, October 6, 1964
At 16:31 local time, two tectonic plates expressed a difference of opinion regarding which direction they should be travelling in. Not as big as some, but larger than many, this difference of opinion resulted in a magnitude 7 earthquake near the town of Manyas. For local residents, the quake was devastating, but in far way Wadi Naveh, the quake barely registered. It was however, just enough to jiggle one particular medium size boulder. That jiggle moved the boulder just enough that the tons of sand and rock it had been holding back against all odds for thousands of years came crashing down into the narrow passage connecting Midas’ ancient tomb to the world outside.
That event went unnoticed by the three figures and their dead king. The collapse ensured they’d remain undisturbed for a very, very long time. Perhaps in another two thousand years, a kindred spirit will find them and decide to join their tableau.