Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

Jason Erik Lundberg‘s fiction is forthcoming from Subterranean Magazine and Polyphony 7.

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

Archive for the ‘Anniversary’ Category

The Third Golem

Friday, March 26th, 2010

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, David’s Has he thoughts within his head? and Luc’s Before Exile.

Little is known of the activities of the celebrated writer Jorge Luis Borges after he faked his own death in 1986.

According to some reports, he lived in a secret bunker under the Argentine National Library where, with several assistants to help read and research, the blind author devoted himself to the study of the kabbalah, the Jewish mystical tradition that had figured in many of his stories and poems. He focused on the golem-making rituals that turn created into creator in worshipful mimicry of the divine. Using techniques that disassembled and recombined the most basic linguistic elements of the Hebrew bible, Borges invested every waking hour in study and practice. No stranger to creation through language, he became an adept sometime in the early 1990’s.

Assistants beside him, he fashioned three humanoid shapes out of clay. On his own, he inscribed them all over with mystic syllables. When the golems woke to consciousness, they were alone.

One of the three crumbled to dust before they discovered they could sustain themselves by continuously reading and rereading Borges’ work. They haunted the library’s stacks each night, seeking their maker’s stories, poems, essays, letters, speeches–anything that, like them, bore the mark of his mind.

They discovered that, by copying out his work in their own hand, they could renew and refine their rough forms into something more human. Soon they had no need of reference copies, every written word of Borges’ having been pressed into their neuronal clay by their neverending rereading.

Eventually, one began to write not only finished pieces, but their drafts, starting with a copy of “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote,” that contained Borges’ every strikeout and marginal jotting. Even the handwriting was similar. After years of diligent scribing, the golem re-composed the totality of its maker’s career and began to venture new compositions–a line of poetry here, a phrase two of prose there. Another decade, and he was composing new stories, tales Borges would have written.

The moment the golem completed the last word of his first slim volume, The Voice of the Mirror and Other Stories, Borges, living in a distant part of the city under an assumed name, found that he could see again.

“Light,” he said to his companions at a café table under evening trees. “Everywhere there is light.”

Before Exile

Friday, March 26th, 2010

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, David’s Has he thoughts within his head? and Rudi’s The Third Golem.

Many thanks to Faye Levine, whose page on parchment amulets from her Practical Kabbalah site helped provide information in this story. Any gross inaccuracies in my story or failings on my part to understand things fully are, of course, her fault.

Far across the city, we heard the screech of metal and the first concussive roars of the Robot Insurrection. My daughter Leah and I sat on her princess bed and watched through the window as the night sky across the river grew orange with flames. She reached out and touched the leather case I was holding, inside which, she knew from demanding the story of it many times, was the special Parchment Amulet, prepared by a very learned Shofer.

“Are you going to go fight the robots now, daddy?”

“Soon,” I said. “First we need to wait for Aunt Alice to get back. You’ll go stay at her apartment, and then I’ll go.”

Her face scrunched up. “Those robots are bad! You should make them say they’re sorry and clean it all up.”

“I’ll try to. I’ll be very happy if we can do that.”

“Can you?”

I frowned and squeezed her hand. “No use trying to tell the future, maideleh.”

She stroked the leather case softly, as though it were a pet. “Is your special paper more powerful than the robots?” she said.

I think it is.”

“Why didn’t it keep mommy from going to heaven?”

“Because it’s only for one person. When they wrote it, they wrote the name right down on it. It doesn’t help anyone else.”

I heard the front door, and my sister Alice’s hurried steps through the living room.

“OK, you have to put it on,” she said.

I smiled. “You think it’s my name on it?”

“It’s not? Whose is it?”

I lifted the amulet case up and settled the chain around her neck, over her Tinkerbell nightgown. It hung down almost to her knees.

“It’s my name?” she said breathlessly. “It’s my name is on it?”

“Who do you think?” I said. “I don’t need it anyway. I have chutzpah.”

Alice came in and swept Leah into her arms, looking at me broken-hearted over my daughter’s shoulder as I picked up my taser gun.

“Do I have huspoppa too, daddy?” she said, her voice muffled in Alice’s shoulder. I walked with them to the door.

“You will, sweetheart,” I said. “For now you have protection. All the rest comes later.”

Then we went our separate ways in the hallway, and I took the exit down the stairs as the lights flickered out and the city was plunged into darkness.

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