Pseudopod 051: Brothers

By J. C. Hay

Read by Richard Dansky

And now he was back again, wandering through what was left of the basement of the synagogue where he had huddled with his family and neighbors. Outside in the streets was a Germany gone mad, and this had been a safe place to hide. His father had announced that he knew how to protect them, if everyone stayed here. And he was right; if not for his actions, they would all have died that night, instead of just him. It was time, Jakob supposed, to settle the old ghosts haunting his memory.

He had been a boy of twelve at the time, but he would never forget. It was as indelible in his mind as the numbers tattooed on his forearm. Jakob pushed further into the dark and felt something crunch beneath his foot. The darkness gleefully filled the space in front of him as he pointed the beam of his flashlight down to find metal and broken glass reflecting back up at him whitely.

He picked the glasses up, holding them in the light for a moment. They were covered with dust, one lens cracked, the other fallen out completely. The gold wire holding the round glass in place had twisted and bent, long before his clumsy foot had found them. Jakob was surprised they had survived in the basement this long. He expected they would have been stolen by now. It had been fifty years after all.

August 17th, 2007 1:06 pm

It’s like if Isaac Bashevis Singer has written Sophie’s Choice.

August 18th, 2007 8:28 am

I can’t help but think to myself: “That’s all?” Anyway, I thought it was an okay story. Worth listening to, but I’m still waiting for more of those awesome, gory tales that are elsewhere on the pseudopod archive. Thanks for the story, you guys.

August 18th, 2007 10:36 am

I actually appreciate that the Pseudopod boards haven’t been plagued with the same pointless debate about whether or not a story meets some personal construct of a definition of a genre as the Escape Pod boards have been.

I think that is because what people think of a scary, just like what people find to be sexy, is entirely based or an individual particular twisted predilections, and somehow we all know that.

This was a good story. Was it scary to me? No. Are 98.9% of Pseudopod stories? No. I enjoy a Sigleresque splatterfest as much as the next guy. Explicit details of testicular trauma move me as much as the next guy. But, honestly, I appreciate the diversity we have been getting here. As long as the stories are well written, I am a happy listener.

Dark Seducer
August 18th, 2007 11:34 am

Great Story! I haven’t even stopped listening to it. I’ve studied the Golem myth .
I’m working on a story myself.

Very cool! Very Inventive.

Thanks for submitting it.

August 19th, 2007 7:53 am

Wow, who would have thought a horror story could be so moving. Every well done and in keeping with the myth.

I truely enjoyed this and well pass on the link.

August 21st, 2007 6:29 am

Excellent pacing, good imagery, believable characters, and a friggin’ golem! Perfect ending.

THIS is the type of story you need to be running more of.

August 22nd, 2007 6:22 pm

“Sigleresque splatterfest”

I must remember that phrase… Love the golem, thought the play on words between truth and death was pretty good. I know it’s not part of the main story, but I’d love to know a bit more about just how was the golem created? And why is this guy after all these years the last guy with the power to create another? Is it because only he has the knowledge, or bloodline, or something else?

But, despite not knowing the details – it still gave me the goosebumps!

Dave (aka Nev the Deranged... or is it the other way around?)
August 23rd, 2007 8:30 pm

Timothy, the “Truth” and “Death” bit is a pretty well recognized part of the original golem mythology. The silent movie that was many people’s first introduction to the story used the Star of Astaroth to fulfil the same function, but originally it was as this story describes.

And even though I knew how it was going to end halfway through, I still liked it, because it had to end that way to be satisfying. And to me, that says it was well set up.

I particularly like the golem’s dispassionate logical rationalizations for his actions, coupled with the unexpected but presumably equally genuine display of emotion.

For a second, I thought the protagonist was just going to let himself die at the hands of his clay brother, and all my will reached through him to lift his hand to his killer’s forehead… and when he did, I could breathe again, even if he could not.

Bright Lies
August 26th, 2007 3:31 am

I didn’t know anything of the Golem myth before listening to this story then reading the comments.

Nice to hear a far-out story and learn some serious wikipedia history as a result!

I never know what to expect from pseudopod except satisfaction…

light weight
August 27th, 2007 4:12 pm

I find this story eerily endearing and haunting in a way I’m not used to seeing. The style and interesting way in which this story is revealed is also very refreshing. No Captain exposition to spoon feed us the environment and the back story. Thank you for presenting this and to the author for penning it as well. Brilliant!

Pamela Hayes
October 23rd, 2007 8:12 pm

This was more mature writing than is typical for Pseudopod – bravo!

January 6th, 2009 4:23 pm


July 26th, 2009 8:26 am

Excellent rendition of the Golem. I’ve always been fascinated by the stories of golems, but I’m often disappointed in the results. This one did not fall flat for me at all.