We wanted to spend the night. We were displaced. The city was blinking and winking. In restaurants, in the street, illuminated bodies carried unseen heads. The house suited our needs: it was free, the rooms were large—a red kitchen, down the hall rooms, rooms we went exploring until.
Was I the one who found the room, or another of us? If not I, then I was at least soon summoned to look. In the hall, a telephone lay on the floor, its cord stretched toward the door like the stalk of a plant seeking a light source. I stood in the doorway with some few of my companions. The door was open. The phone began to ring. On the floor, someone had drawn outlines of men that were filling now, slowly, with red—red meat rising like a soufflé, red muscles thickening and rising.
Golems! One of us screamed, and before I understood what was happening we all bolted. Jostling. My breath ragged. Yet part of me had always known that if I picked up the ringing phone I’d hear a voice say, Golems are soulless men.
We scattered through the maze of rooms, all the rooms empty, the Golems behind empty like the rooms. But we felt them, overtaking, overpowering the space we vacated, sealing the rooms forever against our return.
After we escaped our curiosity still tethered us to the house. We lingered outside trying to peek through the windows. Under the overpass there was a spot where the shadow of the bridge fell over the pane of a first floor vitrine and seemed to create a dark opening in the glass, and through this opening—we all crowded together to see—was clearly visible a mannequin-like man, dapper in a soft wool suit and wig of thick, blond hair. We swayed this way and that trying to get a better view. And his face followed us, aware.
Maria Rapoport is a New York-based writer who was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her work has appeared in The Iowa Review and The Pinch, been produced by The Shotgun Players, and received an Iowa Review Award in creative nonfiction. She has been an Edward Albee Foundation Fellow and is currently a participant in Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Workspace Program, where's she's working on a collection of experimental short fiction.