QSFer Kim Fielding has a new MM paranormal book out: “The Golem of Mala Lubovnya.” This novella originally appeared in an anthology.
Created out of clay to protect the citizens of Mala Lubovnya from persecution, the golem is strong but desperately lonely. He is confined to an attic, and his only joy comes from listening to the evening prayers and watching a stonemason work across the street.
Then the golem meets the mason—Jakob—who gives him the name Emet and becomes Emet’s friend. But Jakob is caught between his faith and his attraction to men, while Emet knows he may eventually be used as an instrument of violence.
Emet’s name means truth—but can honest love survive for a golem and a devout man?
The days were growing shorter, and a chill had returned to the evenings. The masons had nearly completed the house’s walls, which worried the golem. When they were finished, surely they would move on to another project somewhere else, somewhere outside his limited field of vision. That would leave him with only the prayers for solace, and they never lasted very long.
One afternoon the golem watched from his window as black clouds swept into the sky. All the people hurried to finish their tasks. In the buildings across the street, windows were shuttered tightly. All the masons left but one; the youngest, it seemed, wanted to finish setting a few more stones. He was covering them with heavy cloth when lightning began to crackle and thunder boom, and fat raindrops began to fall.
The golem had seen a few storms before, but none this fierce. He was frightened. Perhaps God had noticed the creature made of clay and decided he was an abomination. Perhaps God had sent the tempest to destroy him. The golem thought about himself, alone and unneeded in the attic, reduced to a pile of dust that would someday be swept away. If he were dust, he’d never again hear that voice lifted in prayer.
A bolt of lightning struck very close, and the thunder was loud enough to shake the building.
The golem wailed.
And as he looked out the rain-streaked window to the ground below, hoping for a final glimpse of the stonemason, he saw the man rooted in place. Staring openmouthed at him.
The golem rushed as far from the window as he could get. He backed into a corner—knocking over the broom—and sank to the floor. He huddled there with his face pressed against his knees. Now even more than the storm, he feared his master. If Rabbi Eleazar heard the noise the golem had made and discovered he’d allowed himself to be seen, surely the rabbi would be furious. Furious enough to destroy the golem.
The storm raged on, rain pounding the roof and wind making the window rattle, but the golem listened for the sound of footsteps running up the stairs.
Evening prayers began. The golem could hear the men chanting, but not that one wonderful voice. Perhaps this was a punishment for his transgression. He wasn’t certain he could bear his existence if he was never allowed to hear that voice again.
The prayers ended, the storm waned into a soft patter of raindrops, and still the rabbi didn’t come.
In the velvet blackness, it was difficult to find the old curtains and lay them neatly on the floor, but the golem managed. He took special care not to knock into anything and not to let his feet thud on the wooden floorboards. He settled down on his bed. But he couldn’t rid himself of the vision of the stonemason looking up at him; the man’s face lingered behind his eyelids like the aftereffects of a lightning flash. The man had looked astounded. But even then, and with his clothing soaked through, his curls dripping wet, he’d been handsome. In fact, the way his wet shirt had become almost transparent and clung to his broad chest only served to heighten the golem’s attraction.
Without the golem’s conscious intent, his right hand slid under the waistband of his trousers.
He had spent very little time thinking about his own body. Truly, he’d hardly thought of it as his own. He was a created thing. Property. His master could order him about at will, could destroy him as he saw fit. And while the golem had occasionally stroked the letters carved into his chest, he’d never explored the parts of himself that were covered by clothing.
Tonight, though, he allowed his hand to wander.
Kim Fielding has migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States and currently lives in California. She’s a university professor who dreams of being able to travel and write full-time. She also dreams of having two perfectly-behaved children, a husband who isn’t obsessed with football, and a house that cleans itself. Some dreams are more easily obtained than others.
Kim donates 100% of the royalties from her self-published stories and audiobooks to Doctors Without Borders.