Albert Arnold and the Golem

The golem rose from the sea, and sent a tsunami onto the land followed by a tidal wave. The coastline disappeared, a population drowned. The creature, made from earth and rocks, stepped onshore, and the people fled. A family clung to a tree, and the golem squashed them flat beneath the great clay columns of its legs. Dwellings were destroyed, farms flooded, rivers ruined by wrecks of smashed cars and trains.

A ship appeared, a helicopter on its stern, blue uniformed men gathered on deck to watch the golem. The deck gun fired, then the ship sank into the sea. Soldiers appeared in tanks and then disappeared into the earth. Planes appeared out of reach of the golem and fired missiles from miles away; explosions flashed on the golem’s earthen skin and cracks appeared. The people rallied and came closer to watch the golem fall.

Then the golem reached up and plucked the sun out of the sky.

People were confused to see two suns: one in the usual position, eight minutes and twenty seconds away by the speed of light, shining high in the sky: the other, a ball of orange fire, glowing in the palm of the golem’s hand.

Then the golem popped the sun into his mouth and it was night everywhere. There was a faint milky light and a cold milky chill in the air as the surface of the earth cooled to freezing. The last remains of fossil fuels persisted as pinpricks of light in towns and cities. The moon and the planets reflected light, for a few more minutes, then vanished from view.

Plant life shuddered, unable to take in carbon dioxide or to release oxygen. Seven billion people on earth sucked on the oxygen reserves in the atmosphere and staggered on. A wind got up and people fell over, as they sensed a change in their place in the universe. Streaks of starlight appeared above them as the Earth, released from the sun’s gravitational pull, swung towards the nearest black hole.

The golem knelt in the sea, surrounded by ice, its eyes burning bright yellow. Men advanced towards the golem, but froze or panicked before they got near. Smarter people starting moving towards the centre of the earth.

A man stepped forward out of the shivering crowd.  He was dressed in a black suit and blue tie, and had film star good looks and big hands. “This is allegory,” said the man. “I speak this double-faced language. I am a politician, and my name is Albert Arnold.  I was almost President of the United States of America.”

Albert Arnold walked out across the ice to the golem, disbelieving the reality of his surroundings. The golem laughed as the politician jumped into its huge mouth. He fought with the serpent hanging at the back of that dark cave. “How will you stop me, puny man?” asked the golem.

“Because it is not the will of God that humanity must die,” said Albert Arnold, who defeated the serpent, and ran down a passageway that became hotter and lighter, until he stopped at the edge of a lake that fizzed and burnt his shoes. The sun bobbed in the middle of the lake, slowly dissolving in acid.

“Time has run out for your parasitic race,” said the golem.

“That’s exactly what I’ve been saying. I tell them about the global warming, the plundering of natural resources, the pollution, the over-population, but do they listen?” Albert Arnold sighed.

“It is the will of the world that the natural balance be restored,”said the golem, “to a time before man.”

Albert Arnold said his prayers and then waded out into the lake, expensive suit dissolving and dropping from his bones. He picked up the sun, the size of a football, and pressed it against the cavern wall. The rock melted and the golem screamed. A hole appeared in the golem’s belly and the lake issued out of its side as a clear waterfall. The sun flew up into the sky.

Albert Arnold lay back in the lake, dissolving into vapour and thought.

The golem spoke to him. “Gone are the days of men, if you have to sacrifice yourself so that they may live.”

“They are animals; they know not what they do. I am their shepherd.” Albert Arnold’s smile floated away on the surface of the lake, while outside, the sun brightened in the sky.

© Mark Carew 2013

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