Archive for the ‘Kat Beyer’ Category
Friday, May 2nd, 2014
Friday, May 2nd, 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Marty was aware that sleeping with Mrs Korlowski was unethical. For one she was a client. For another he was her marriage counselor. He should be punished, he knew. Should lose his business, his marriage, should be shunned publicly for this. Yes, he told Mrs Korlowski, he had been a very bad boy and deserved to be punished. Still, for all his contrition, he completely failed to appreciate the irony of discovering that Mr Korlowski had been speaking literally when he complained that his wife was a soul-sucking monster.
As the ice cream truck slammed to a halt just past my crumpled, flattened body, I was pulled up out of myself by something thin and sharp. I found myself floating just above the ground, looking down at the busted collection of formerly fairly-well-cared-for-organs that was me, and floating next to me were a couple of segments converging into a single being. This being wore a black robe and held a scythe.
“What the hell?” I said.
“I am the Angle of Death,” it said. “Please come with me.”
“Isn’t there supposed to be an angel?”
“Even God makes the occasional typo,” the angle said–a little snappishly, if you ask me. “And since ‘angle’ is a perfectly valid word, the spellchecker missed it completely.”
“I’m just surprised, is all.”
“Why is it always this conversation?” said the angle. “Why can’t it ever be about substantive things? The nature of being, the brevity yet incredible richness of life, the strangeness of a coherent consciousness surviving death when it’s entire physical mechanism has ceased to operate … these would be worthy subjects. Yet instead, everyone chooses to spend the first moments of their own personal postexistential eternity criticizing God’s typing!”
“I’m sorry,” I said. “So, how does this work?”
“It’s very simple,” the angle said. “Just follow me.” And he began drifting along the ground. I felt tugged after him and surrendered myself to the feeling so that I drifted with him, still trying to get over being greeted in death by a geometrical figure.
The buildings grew blurry and irrelevant, and soon we were crossing a trackless landscape of misty light and shadow. From this rose up a wide open gate. The angle gestured, and I drifted through. Then the angle whipped out a key, slammed the gate shut, and locked me in. A disturbing, sulfury smell began to permeate my nose.
“I bet you thought no one knew about your weapons smuggling, didn’t you?” the angle said smugly. “Well, we certainly did! It’s Hell for you!” It laughed horribly. My feet began to feel uncomfortably hot. I gripped the bars of the gate, shaking them.
“Curse you, angle of death!” I yelled. And I realized that I had been distracted by the seemingly whimsical error of his nature, probably exactly as intended.
As I was dragged down into flames, I was at least comforted a little that God didn’t make mistakes after all.
In its sleep, the city stirred. Beneath its streets, muscles rippled. Flagstones were cracked. Buildings trembled. Lives were endangered. “These are events outside the record of history,” the citizens told their crown-prince. “Something must be done.”
The prince’s advisors, the chymick Airtran, and the physick Elben, consulted. Never had the two seen eye to eye, but it was Elben that answered first.
“Our city wants,” he said. “It yearns. It struggles to approach its desires.”
“What does it desire?” the prince asked.
“That we must ascertain,” he replied.
Children were brought up to the city’s great ear. They stood upon the plateau of its pinna and sang into the pit there—sweet nothings to lull the city back to slumber.
The city stirred and a dozen lives were lost—spilled into the abyss.
Adventurous souls with little to lose clambered down the great crags of the city’s face. Barrels of liquor were roped down. The whole city seemed to sweat and groan at the heave of their descent. Finally the liquid was introduced to the lips of the city, and was heard to gurgle deep in the city’s bowels.
The city stirred and the citizens found they had no way to drown their sorrows.
A madwoman went south, to the city’s nethers, with lecherous claims for a solution. She never returned. Still the city stirred.
Then Airtran loosed his tongue, saying, “Too much time and too many lives have been lost. There is a simpler solution. If the city desires, then we simply remove the organ of desire.”
Elben spoke against such words, but the weight of the people was with Airtran. And so men dug. With picks, and spades, and blades they dug. Blood filled the hole but they pumped it away and dug on. The city twitched. Lives were crushed. They dug on. A thunder came from the pit. A crashing sound that deafened those who worked in the meaty depths of the hole. Still they dug,
Then at last they came to it. The great crashing, pulsating organ: the city’s heart. And Airtran, the chymick, descended and plied his trade, even against the horror of it all. And the heart blackened, and the heart slackened, and the heart died.
The city lay still.
The people cheered. Weeks passed. And slowly the scent of rot filled the air.
Friday, May 2nd, 2014
Friday, May 2nd, 2014