Kat Beyer’s Cabal story “A Change In Government” has been nominated for a BSFA award for best short fiction.

Ken Brady’s latest story, “Walkers of the Deep Blue Sea and Sky” appears in the Exquisite Corpuscle anthology, edited by Jay Lake and Frank Wu.

Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

Alex Dally MacFarlane’s story “The Devonshire Arms” is available online at Clarkesworld.

Has he thoughts within his head?

by David

This story is part of the Daily Cabal’s third anniversary celebration, a collection of kabbalah-themed stories. (Thanks to Mechaieh for the theme!) The other anniversary stories are Angela’s Mechaiah’s Daughter, Rudi’s The Third Golem, and Luc’s Before Exile.

Micah didn’t have a lot to work with when he decided to make the golem. He’d barricaded himself inside Shawanna’s spare bedroom after the gumdrops broke through the front door of the house. Only after wedging the bedroom door with a wooden desk chair did he notice the stacks upon stacks of jars of creamy Jif. O. M. G. Not since graduate school, when money had run out two weeks before the end of the field season, had peanut butter passed his lips. He shuddered, face twisting.

Gumdrops pattered quietly against the bottom foot or so of the door in fractal frequencies. The faint noises spelled out half-truths and lies in an iterative code. Candy communication or brownian motion?

Water from the sink in the half bath kept him alive, but he could not force down the peanut butter.

Micah had foresworn the practice of magic, but the human body can take only so much. On the third day he opened the first jar and reached inside. When the creature was fully formed, he inscribed the hebrew word for truth on its forehead. The golem stood, inclined its head.

“Okay, look. I want you to open the door, gather up the gumdrops, and put them in the fridge on the first floor.” The monster broke open the door with a quick jerk, passed out into the hall, and set to work.

The fridge was filling, and the few remaining free gumdrops huddled near the door. Micah shuffled closer to the door, but then he noticed that the golem was slowing. Its profile was subtly changing, and it was no longer steady on its feet. Scooping gumdrops into its paw, the golem dropped as many as it disposed of. It somehow conveyed a sense of distress, while continuing to gather the megalomaniacal candies and stuff them into the refrigerator. The golem fell. Micah saw ants, tens of thousands of them, each one carrying away its tiny piece of magic, or arriving unencumbered, seizing a piece of flesh in its jaws, and turning away. The golem continued to writhe silently, crushing a few gumdrops with its fists, but did not rise again. Ants stuck in the warm peanut butter became stepping stones for their fellows.

On the floor, a sticky brown blob, truth-marked, strove mightily to reach the refrigerator door handle.

It was lunch time.


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