Jonathan Wood’s story “Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle” from Electric Velocipede 15/16 is available online.

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

The Golem and the Ants

by Rudi Dornemann

The Makers
When your mystical text is bought at a mall bookstore, and you have to cross out the passages about self-actualization to get a clear idea what the golem-making process involves, it’s no wonder that, even though you’ve sculpted the body with the right kind of earthen clay, and even though you’ve matched the Hebrew letters for the word that means life and carved them on the forehead, and even though you’ve chanted the alphabets of the 221 gates in the proper order as you marched around the body in the proper direction–even though you’ve done all that–something can still go wrong.

The Made
When you’ve just woken into the world and the people around you are whooping and shouting, it can be a little frightening. When they take you outside, it’s natural that frightened turns to running.

The Makers
You were clever enough to learn from the old stories, so you didn’t do like the rabbi in one version of the tale, who was crushed when he unmade a golem who’d slipped from his control, the golem grown so large that it towered over its maker, the golem who crushed its maker on returning to being a load of inanimate clay. So making your creation small was wise. Foolish was taking it outside just when a school group passed by, when you could hardly run after and haul it home.

The Made
You wandered days before finding the place that seemed comfortable, and you sat there among the upright stones and the overhanging trees. You sensed bodies there, not turning from mud to flesh like you’d done, but the other way around. Your makers neglected to give you a purpose; becoming earth again seemed as good as any.

Your queen sought unclaimed ground to start a new colony, and the rest of you came after. It was readymade for you, with vein-tunnels, a stomach big enough to store many wintersworth of grass seed, and a well-protected place up top where the queen could settle in and bring forth generations.

The (Re)Made
You rose from a season’s sleep among the stones and the bodies they marked, and stood, your substance stirring with life, your mind borrowing the colony’s purpose. Hungry, industrious, you moved out into the world, looking for something to build, something to make with your big clay hands.

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