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

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

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

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).

Archive for the ‘Anniversary’ Category

Mechaieh’s Daughter

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 Davids’s Has He Thoughts Within His Head?, Rudi’s The Third Golem, and Luc’s Before Exile.

I waited outside what was, until recently, my father’s house. I could feel the eyes of Rahab, his second wife, and her sons watching from inside the white-washed walls.

I had not changed, my flame-coloured hair marked me out. Perhaps they didn’t think I would return.

Laban, the eldest, came out and asked, ‘What do you want, Mariamne?’

 ‘My portion of the inheritance.’

But they refused. As if I had no right, as if I did not carry my mother’s blood, as if I wasn’t Mechaieh’s daughter.

‘Tell you mother that she will lose each of you if I am not given my due.’

For three mornings they found a corpse. Every evening I was in a tavern with witnesses while my stepbrothers died.

Now, in a cave outside Shechem, I wait again. Torches light the rough path down. I can hear Laban’s footsteps.

‘I have it. I have it all outside.’ His voice rasps. ‘You will leave us alone?’

‘As promised. It could have been easy, now you have three brothers to bury.’

His rage seemed to surge and bubble over. Fury overcomes fear and he leaps. I Don’t move, simply speak one word before his hands close around my throat.

Behind his back I see the creature coalescing, motes of dust, clay, any material from the ground it can muster to its call. All rush together to form a giant man, features rude but definite. It lifts Laban turns him so he can stare into its empty sockets.

‘They call it a golem, brother. We make it by mirroring God. It does the bidding of the one who breathes life into it. You see the word on its forehead – emet, means truth. It couldn’t have harmed you if you hadn’t wronged me.’

I watch as the light goes out of Laban’s eyes and foam collects around his swollen lips. The golem drops and faces me. It bows and I lick my thumb. I rub the wetness across the first of the letters etched on its brow. The word now reads met – dead. My lips meet those of the golem and I taste the rich ferment of the cave earth as I draw its breath away.

For a few moments we stand like lovers then the magic flees, and the man of clay crumbles to motes that swirl around like a lost love. Mechaieh’s blood serves me well.

Has he thoughts within his head?

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, 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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