A Golem Story
The Golem isn’t used to these frantic, human affairs.
The train seat is not comfortable nor plush, not like the armchair in Chaya’s living room. It smushes the Golem together — their thighs press firmly against one another, and their arms take up the whole armrest. The train is not moving, but the lights flicker.
And, despite the many layers the Golem has been squeezed into (long socks, long pants, a stiff button-down, gloves, an old hat), they are cold. They have been cold since they came to life in a back Prague alleyway a month ago.
When they were awake enough to comprehend the fact that they were alive, they were propped up in the dining room with body form uncovered. Chaya was pacing in front of them, shaking her hands frantically. Little bits of clay kept flying off her fingers — little bits of proof.
The Golem felt something stirring in the front of their skull. They pinched the bridge of their nose, squinted their eyes shut; then they realized it was Chaya. The Golem could feel every bit of her racing-heart, short-breath panic.
Through the train window, the Golem can see the city. It rises like a sloping mountain. Orange sunset spills across the roofs, and harsh red flags stick out against the skyline. This flag has ruined the city. Blood seeps from the fabric to settle between the cobblestones. The air tastes sour, and people exhale vitriol.
At least, that’s what the Golem had been told. Later on the evening of their creation, Chaya sat down with them at the kitchen table. She got drunk on hard cider and told a winding tale of a dictator, a race of demon people, and a beautiful land which had been cut up and sacrificed. In her stupor, she spoke of it all like a fantastical nightmare. But when the moon turned the cobblestones to silver, and she was so tired that the Golem carried her up to bed, Chaya cried that she watched her people be picked off one by one.
After that, the Golem understood that the girl in their arms thought herself to be powerless. But they didn’t understand how she could find the guts to bring a myth to life if she thought so little of herself.
Chaya settles in the train window seat. She has wrangled her curls inside a thick, heavy bun. She continues to very purposefully not look out the window. Instead, she studies the ID card she had doctored for the Golem. Here, on this train, they are Josef Baum, Chaya’s cousin on her mother’s side.
The conductor comes into their car. The Golem’s head flutters as Chaya gives a sharp exhale. She whips around to watch the man as he meanders down the aisle, lazily asking for papers.