The story so far:
One thing struck me once I got home, locked myself in my room with my laptop, and pulled up the Wikipedia reference on Golems. They can’t speak. A few more clicks into various websites dealing with Jewish folklore confirmed that golems are not endowed with speech because they were only created in Man’s image, not God’s. Having speech would mean they were blessed with souls. What was this preacher playing at? Either that triumvirate of evil glued to the TV downstairs were not golems as he said, or they already had souls. I distinctly remembered being called “Mr. Knox” by that pseudo wife of mine that morning. But then, there was her arm, the preacher had ripped off a big chunk of dirt from it this morning. Never mind that he was a Christian preacher playing with the servants, traditionally, of Rabbis.
My head ached, what did all of this mean? And did any of it justify killing six innocent people just to get my family back? To make my life whole again? Did this preacher think I was stupid? Or were these inconsistencies all part of some master plan? The questions were tearing at my mind. And what did they matter, really? To kill or not to kill, that was my only real question. The preacher’s knife sat beside me on the desk. Next to it stood a picture of Susan, Megan, and Andrew. They were sitting on bales of straw, surrounded by pumpkins, and smiling. Andrew was laughing. He always thought getting his picture taken was funny. Who knows why, but he laughed hysterically anytime a camera was present. Which usually meant the rest of us would end up doubled over in laughter too. I lifted the picture in my hand. A goofy scarecrow stood in the background and cute wooden cutouts painted to look like black cats and Casperish ghosts were leaning against the straw. Megan had goo from a caramel apple all over her face. That was last Halloween.
I traded the picture for the knife and ran downstairs. The invaders hopped off the couch and stood, as if at attention. I waved the knife at Susan, motioning her toward me.
“What have you been up to today?” I asked, as she stood before me.
“Nothing, the preacher told me to do what you said, but you said nothing.”
“Take off your clothes,” I ordered. ‘Emet’ had to be written somewhere. The thing undressed and I went over every inch of its body. Nothing, not even on the bottoms of its feet. I checked its eyelids, its tongue, everything. It stood there, stone-faced through the whole search. No real woman, no matter how frightened she was of the preacher could have stood there without emotion. Right?
“Give me your hand.” I took its hand in mine, “I’m going to cut you, ok?” It twitched a little, I swear. A little wrinkle in its nose before it nodded. I took the knife and dragged it carefully across the fleshy base of the thumb on creature’s hand. The knife clattered to the floor. Blood, red blood welled up from the wound and beaded at the incision before trickling into her palm. Her arm, I grabbed her arm, where the preacher had taken the chunk of clay. No wound, nothing, not a scratch. I shoved the woman’s clothes at her, horrified at myself.
“Hypnosis, most likely,” said the sheriff as I sat on the couch with my head in my hands. My tears had finally stopped. Now the questions were flooding in again. The woman and her children, kidnap victims apparently, had been taken to the hospital hours ago.
“I feel like such an idiot,” I said. The sheriff clapped me on the back.
“This ain’t his first outing, Mr. Knox. Man’s been pulling this trick all over the state. He’s some magician. Gets everybody, every time. Lucky for us, you figured it out a little earlier than most.”
“Will they be ok?”
“Can’t say really. Just be me speculatin’ and I hate to speculate.”
“Why does he do it?”
“Why’d Jeffrey Dahmer or any of the others do it? Who knows. Ain’t gonna speculate.”
“What do I do if he comes back?”
“Give me a holler. We’ll keep cruisers in the area. You gotta gun?”