Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dead Rite chapter 98.02

Harold set the kettle to boil and came over to the kitchen table. Ada's plasticine figure leaned backwards to survey him then scuttled beneath the book holder. E felt a lump in his chest, a feeling of dread hat the world had just become a little darker.


“Only a little bit.” She wiped away a mess of spider legs from the table. “You left me the book to look at. A golem, the book said.”

“Homunculus,” Harold corrected. “You've given it free will. If you'd wanted a golem you should have written its instructions on a piece of paper inside it.”

“Are you sure?” Ada ran her finger over the pages. “There's nothing about it in the book.”

“There's a footnote that refers you to appendix three. It details the differences there.”

“Oh. I didn't read that far.”

“People don't generally. That's why there was a plague of homunculi in the late sixteenth century, prompting the Catholics to start burning anyone who could read. “Anyone not a Catholic priest, at any rate. There are only two copies of his book in existence, the one in the Vatican archive and this one.” He lifted the book from the stand, prompting the homunculus to perform an awkward, four-limbed run for the shelter of the Rover's Assortment tin Ada had found the plasticine in. “I can't let you keep it, mum.”

“But there's so much more to learn. I've only done the first exercise. I had a flick through and you can make full sized ones that are almost like people.”

“Because they're made of people, mum. You remember what happened to granddad.”

“That's different. He was trying to extend his own life.”

“By stealing people's souls.” He tucked the tome under his jacket and stared at the orange foot of his mother's creation, still visible past the corner of the tin. “You need to destroy that before it gets you into trouble.”

“Trouble?” Ada smiled at the crude little man. “How could he be trouble? He's adorable.”

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