Golem Excerpt Blog Series Week Two: Wanda the wise, the desecration of Sam, and the night Golem is born.
Welcome to week 2 of the Golem Excerpt Blog series. This week we have three little excerpts for you to sink your teeth into, one excerpt from each of our main characters, Detective John Ashton, Annette Flemming, and Alena Francon.
For this weeks round up we’ll be introduced to the devil in the details with Wanda and Detective Ashton; then we’ll dive into Annette’s dire coaxing of her golden retriever Sam from the closet; and finally we’ll spend a night with Alena in the moments before her statue comes to life.
Excerpts that are sure to get you in the Halloween mood.
Golem is currently available for Preorder on Amazon and will be offered on Kindle Unlimited. Paperbacks also available on Amazon. Hardcovers can be bought across all major book buying platforms. Click here to preorder. Official release is Tuesday October 5th.
Enjoy the excerpts.
~ PD Alleva
Excerpt 1: Detective John Ashton meet Wanda the Wise
He was on his way to the elevator when he heard a familiar sound. Three xylophone vibrations, one after the other, followed by a pause, then two more. He stopped in his tracks. His chest tight, and his blood turned cold. John Ashton turned on his heels.
Where did it come from?
He searched over the ward. Patients moving restlessly across the floor, his eyes scanning each and every one of them, when he found Wanda. Her head was down.
Three more vibrations.
Ashton could see the xylophone on her lap, a mallet in her right hand.
Two additional vibrations.
John’s bones rattled with the vibration. His stomach turned. Wanda looked like a child who’d received a new toy she wasn’t aware how to work properly. But why would she play that exact tune? Is there a connection? Is this where Alena received the information? John stomped over to Wanda. She paid him no mind, keeping her head down.
“Wanda?” said John. She gave him no response. “Wanda, why do you play the xylophone like that?”
“Like what?” she said, her voice soft and unassuming.
“Three followed by two. Why? Is there some significance?” Silence as John waited for a response. “Wanda, did someone tell you to play it like that?”
Wanda said nothing. She passed the mallet from her left hand to her right then shifted in her seat, cross-legged and keeping her head down.
“Wanda? You ok?”
She sat motionless.
“It’s ok, Wanda, you’re not in trouble or anything. But I would really like to know.”
John knew all eyes were on him, watching. He could feel those stares roaming over his body, wondering what he was doing. Wanda made no movement.
“No worries, Wanda. Thank you,” he said then went to leave.
“In my dreams,” Wanda, her voice just above a whisper.
John stopped cold. He turned to her.
“I hear them in my dreams. Always three then two. Always.”
“Did Alena play them like that?” he asked. “Did she show you?”
Wanda chewed her lip, shaking her head.
“Ok,” John replied. ‘Thank you,” he said.
“The devil’s in the details, detective,” said Wanda as John was once again about to leave.
He curled his brow. “Come again?”
Now Wanda looked at him with a stare that turned John’s stomach.
“The devil,” she said. “The devilis in the details.”
John shook his head. “Why would you say that?”
Nothing. Wanda clasped her hands behind her back and starting swaying, her eyes lost.
“Did someone tell you to say that?” Johns voice just above a whisper.
Wanda nodded feverishly.
“Yes? Ok, who, Wanda? Who told you to say that? Alena?”
Wanda shook her head violently.
“Who then, Wanda? Who told you?”
Wanda’s hair whipped from one side of her face to the other. John could hear the growl erupting from her throat and his chest constricted, his whole body tensed. Wanda cupped her hands over her ears and Ashton moved back as if she were about to explode.
“G-O-L-E-E-E-E-E-M-M-M!” she screamed. “Golem! Golem! Golem! Golem!” Her head was shaking so violently phlegm and drool whipped across the room, splattering Ashton’s lips.
“It’s ok, Wanda, the officer was just leaving,” Melissa took hold of Wanda’s shoulders and shot John a stare that could have stabbed his heart. “Aren’t you, detective?”
John wiped the drool off his mouth. “Yes,” he said. “I’m sorry.”
Wanda calmed at that moment. She put her head on Melissa’s shoulder, started whimpering like a child. Started muttering beneath her breath. As he was leaving Wanda caught his attention once again.
A solid holler. “At night, detective. The devil comes at night.”
The elevator door opened.
"Let it go," John told himself, his heart jumping in his chest. He wanted to get the hell out and as quickly as possible. He entered the elevator and caught Wanda’s stare through the veil of blonde locks covering her face. Thought he was slipping, being drawn into Wanda’s stare. Quickly he shook his head, snapping his focus then his eyes settled on Wanda’s lips. Her voice a whisper but John heard her clearly as if she were whispering in his ear.
“AGIOS O BAPHOMET!”
Excerpt 2: Annette Flemming and the desolation of Sam the golden retriever
Annette Flemming was arguing with her golden retriever, Sam. The dog was curled up in her closet, whining and gagging. The dog had been throwing up for the better part of the last twenty-four hours; he appeared lethargic and wouldn’t eat a thing, not even the human food Annette offered him. Sam crawled into the closet earlier this morning and refused to come out. Annette tried all she could to coax the retriever from the closet, but with no luck.
Naturally she was concerned over the vomiting and included symptoms. What’s gotten into him? Annette thought. She’d gone over the events of the last few days, at first thinking that Sam had gotten into a bag of left over Halloween candy, but she was able to string together a blurred recollection that she gave all the candy bars to little Ivan so she dismissed that possibility. Perhaps the weather, she thought; the rainstorm on Halloween night had brought winter on its heels.
“C’mon Sam, c’mon,” she patted her legs, sitting cross-legged on the carpet outside the closet. All she received were more whines and one bark in between those whines. She wished her husband, Noel, were with her. Annette always felt safe with Noel. Camilla, the help her husband had hired was downstairs scrubbing the kitchen floor–a typical day for Camilla–while singing along to Nat King Cole playing over the radio in Noel’s study. Perhaps Annette would feel better if there were children in the house – someone to pass the time with, someone to feel safe with. Someone more like Annette. But the Flemmings had no plan for children, not in this house or any future house for that matter. No children, husband away – again – and it all added up to one eternal aspect that Annette could not get used to: loneliness. Sam had always been her rock, her companion to pass those lonely hours and days and now it seemed he was throwing in the towel, refusing to come out and obviously sick as a dog.
Sam whimpered, and Annette could hear his breathing was heavy, his chest heaving as his heart hammered.
“C’mon Sam,” Annette tapped her legs again, her voice desperate in spite of her will to project playfully for Sam to come away from the dark closet. Her eyes filled with frustrated tears she wiped clear. “Please, Sam, come out of there.”
“Perhaps a doctor for Sam,” said Camilla, now standing in the bedroom door. Her voice carried a thick South American accent.
Annette had been growing weary of Camilla. Her presence irritated Annette, and her suggestion fueled the irritation. Annette wanted to be left alone, not catered to in a small house she could clearly maintain on her own. Annette rolled her eyes. I don’t need advice, she thought. I’ll take care of Sam on my own. This thought process surprised even Annette; she’d historically been appreciative of Camilla’s contribution, but today that accent annoyed her, like twisting a knife in her ears.
“No, Camilla, he just needs some water and food,” Annette said.
“Si, signora,” Camilla answered. “Should I bring a water dish for Sam?”
“Please, Camilla, that would be great,” said Annette then returned to coaxing Sam from the closet, now lying on his side in a panting fever. “Oh, Sam,” she said. Perhaps a doctor is best, she thought, but neither Annette nor Camilla had the ability to drive so far out on the Island, which meant they would need to take a train. Annette hated trains; being so close to other people made her skin crawl. No need, she thought, he’ll be fine, he just needs water and food. Dogs get sick just like people do, let him flush it out with a good bowl of water. Annette sighed and gave up her coaxing efforts. Just for now, she thought. If Sam isn’t better within a few hours she would take the train. She went to the stairs where Camilla, dish of water in hand, was returning.
“Thank you, Camilla,” Annette said allowing Camilla to pass on her way to the master bedroom.
“No problems, Mrs. Flemming,” said Camilla.
Annette watched as Camilla made her way down the hall into her bedroom. “Master Sam,” she said. “Water for you.” Annette watched amazed as Sam hobbled from the closet to Camilla’s carefully placed bowl.
“Not on the carpet,” Annette said as Sam started to lap his tongue into the bowl.
Camilla looked at Annette feverishly. “It’s ok, I clean,” she told Annette then returned her eyes to Sam’s lapping. “Water for you, Master Sam.”
Annette watched Sam drink as if he’d been riding in a desert, and water was the dog’s only reprieve, watched as water splashed and splattered on the carpet. Annette shook her head, her jaw tight taking the stairs down where she stopped abruptly, looking over her home. Theirs was the only house with two floors in the neighborhood, a fact she’d welcomed with pride, considering the neighbors and their untrustworthy treatment Annette experienced the day they moved in. People always have something to say, she thought then. She’d been immediately put off by the neighbors. At least she had a husband who went out and made something of himself and wasn’t looking for handouts like everyone else. She couldn’t wait to get out of the neighborhood. Even more she couldn’t wait for the moving truck to be outside their house, for the For Sale sign to be erected on their lawn.
Now Camilla started hollering, “Mrs. Flemming, Mrs. Flemming, it's Master Sam…please come…please,” in that accent that drove Annette wild with rage.
Annette rushed to the stairs whispering under her breath, “Can’t do anything right,” on her hurried way up, and “What is it, Camilla?” while she trampled down the hall.
“It’s Master Sam,” Camilla called. “He’s bleeding.”
Excerpt 3: Alena Francon and the night Golem is born
She completed the statue after midnight on December twenty-sixth. He became more than she had imagined. Delicate yet strong, courageous although compassionate, a leader who captured the pain of his people on his shoulders, and in his eyes.
Completed and marveled over, yet his manifestation brought Alena a sense of loneliness. She’d obsessed over him for so long, now that he was complete, she experienced loss. And she wanted more from him. "I love you," she told him, standing with a bottle of wine in one hand, a glass in the other, sipping slowly as she had been most of the day. Now the wee hours of early morning (three am) brought silence. And with the silence, the air changed with a sting of winter cold.
She’d lit a fire, which burned relentlessly, casting shadows on the walls. The crackling, popping wood received a breath of air from the chimney, raging the fire into a fury. Windows, buffeted by the outside wind, seemed to be on the verge of splintering, cracking, and caving with shards of glass blown across the sitting room.
She took a sip of wine, held the acidic liquid on her tongue before swallowing. Her eyes, stiff and staring, gleamed admiration and frustration.
“Tell me your name,” she whispered. His eyes were brought alive by the flames that didn’t reflect off the marble, but were capturedby it, swallowed by his soul. She wanted to lie in his arms, to fold herself in his embrace. To take that hand in hers, the hand that stretched toward her, palm up, as if he summoned her to him. Take my hand. Give yourself to my embrace. Kiss my eyes, my forehead, my lips. Declare your love for me. An undying, forever love, and I will protect and keep you always. Neither sickness nor tragedy will ever befall you. The world will appear beautiful, always.
She went to him and for a brief moment she thought he moved. That he was watching her, anticipating her every movement, willing her to him. Both glass and bottle dropped from her hands. The glass shattered. Bottle clanged against the marble tile then rolled to a stop; wine gurgled from the open bottleneck. Alena heard neither. She stepped on the stool beside the base, never turning her eyes from his. She placed her hand in his and as she stepped up it was as if his hand had helped her.
Her lips were shaking when she said, “I dream of you. Every night. I close my eyes and you’re there. When I wake, you are still there.” She leaned her head in his palm, gazing into those fiery eyes. “Wake up,” she said. “Please wake up. For me. For love and for beauty. Let me look on you with admiration and wonder.” Shadows flickered across the statue, providing an appearance of slight subtle movements. Her eyes, wide and staring, wanting to will life into the statue as a single tear fell from her right eye. Alena caught inside the pain from the past, as if the devil’s hand captured sadness and squeezed it into her heart. Tears now in both eyes, she lifted her head from his hand, Alena’s fingertips gently caressing the palm lines she’d created. And the tears fell into his palm.
“I gave you a long life,” she referred to the palm lines she crafted then looked at him. “You should be grateful.” Alena wiped the tears off his palm. Brushed those wet hands across the smock she wore then wiped her eyes as she sniffled. And she laughed. Laughed at herself. At the ridiculous wish that this statue would respond. That she wantedthe statue to spring to life. To take her in his embrace and never let go. She glanced at his eyes hoping he would turn those flames in her direction. “No?” she said then shook her head turning away, her eyes roaming. To the floor, to the ceiling, to the walls and fireplace, avoiding his eyes because she knew he would not look at her, and she hated him for it. This statue, born from the depths of her soul, was already gone. Had already abandoned and betrayed her, refusing to manifest her wish and desire.
Alena took the bottle off the floor by the neck and walked with grace to the fireplace. The crackling fire devoured its wood prey as she watched the statue reflected in the Victorian mirror above the mantle, hoping and praying that he would move now that she wasn’t in front of him. Paying no mind to the sweat, soot, and marble dust disturbed by smeared tears on her face. Her greasy hair seemed like marble in the way the hair matted within thick gobs across the forehead and down the back of her neck. She set the bottle on the mantle and her eyes fell on the letter, still sealed. In front of the letter was the gypsy statue, and she looked on it with a puzzled stare as if she’d never laid eyes on the gypsy before.
For protection.She heard these words as if they came from the dark recesses of her mind. Something that had been locked away but now peeked its head through a crack in the door and requested entrance to Alena’s thoughts. To survey if the coast was clear and all was safe before revealing itself.
She took up the statue and, as if a trap door had opened, the memories flooded into conscious thought. Alena saw the gypsy woman, the palm reading, and the goat. Remembered how sick she’d gotten, the hospital, and the aftermath. Her stomach wrenched with a stinging pain, acid gurgled in the back of her throat. She tightened her grip on the statue. Her hand was trembling, lips quivering, and the memories drove into consciousness. But she did not believe them. Did not believe that any such circumstances had taken place. Alena questioned her sanity as she stood by the fire glaring at the statue trembling within a shaking grip. The fire served as a backdrop framing the gypsy statue. She heard Crystal’s voice. “We thought the gypsy woman had something to do with it.”
"Did I hear her right?" Alena thought. She turned to her statue as if believing he would offer an answer. “Is it even real?” she hollered. How did this gypsy figurine find the fireplace mantle? The memory surfaced, being handed the small gypsy statue by Maleva. Then she saw the gypsy statuette on the carpet before losing consciousness so many months prior. Those tender gypsy eyes staring, unmoving, as Alena’s eyes closed.
It all seemed like a dream. Like drifting within a waking trance with no understanding where reality began, and the dream ended. Had this statue been on the mantle all these months? How could I not have noticed it before today?Because she never looked or gave so much as a glance at the mantle, diverting her eyes from the letter every time she stoked the fire. No, she was certain the figurine was not on the mantle earlier that day and without a doubt was not present when she’d added wood to the fire a few hours ago. She could not be certain about the memories, however real they now seemed. Or Crystal’s declaration. She could be filling gaps in her memory attempting to make sense of this new revelation.
“Did you…” her voice trailed off glaring at herstatue, her new man unmoving with the exception of the shadows that animated his resonating bones. Her stomach twisted, acid gagged her throat. She dropped to her knees and vomited, feeling the goat inside her. A lingering sensation eliciting pressure in her abdomen.
“Can’t be,” she pleaded. “None of this is possible.” She cried, tears streaming from her eyes, down those thin cheeks, pooled on the jawline where they hung briefly before falling in small drips to the floor. She coughed and gagged as the fire’s heat burned her skin.
Her body shook. She gazed at the gypsy in her hand, clenching the statue. “You took everything from me.” Lips quivering. She squeezed the statue. “EVERYTHING!” Her face constricted squeezing with angered rage. The gypsy cracked in her hand, slicing through her palm as she squeezed even more. Blood dripping in streams escaped between her fingers. Her fist was trembling and when she opened her hand, small crushed porcelain pieces fell to the floor. Remaining in her palm was the statue’s backside and she could now see the evil eye staring at her. An eye had been painted on the inside.
That’s what Maleva had said. The gypsy statue meant protection for whomever it was given to. The only protection I needed was from you.She let the remains drop from her palm and she sat on her legs, cradling the bloodied hand.
“My God!” she cried holding the trembling blood streaming hand close to her chest as she rocked back and forth. “I’ve completely lost it.” Her body jerked. Alena’s legs flopped from beneath her and she sat now on her backside, holding her wrist watching and staring as the blood kept coming. Bleed to death, she thought. For all I care.
Life is a cruel trick that God gets off on playing.
And hope is nothing more than a delusion.
She raised her head, her eyes to the back of her skull. She saw the goat. Heard that clunking bell as the beast mounted the cot. The thought disgusted every inch of her skin, tainted every thought, and constricted every muscle.
She felt Maleva’s hands on her wrists.
She heard the bell. Heard the baa.
Alena went to the statue, herstatue.
She saw the goat snicker. Her lips trembled.
Alena was gazing at the statue with no ability to see the statue.
She heard Maleva chanting, AGIOS O BAPHOMET!
Alena held her clenched fist high over her head, squeezing the blood into droplets that fell from her palm.
AGIOS O BAPHOMET!
“You come to me,” she said, her voice gripped with anger. “You come or I will be no more.” Blood dropped on the base—“DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?”—streaming down the base where the thick liquid pooled to where the marble protruded from the smoothness like an overhang for the floor. Alena scowled at the statue, whose eyes raged with fire. She dropped her fist. “Hear me,” she whispered. But the statue remained silent, unmoving and unwavering.
“You’re all I have,” she said, her head now bowed staring at the blood droplets cascading down the marble as if the stone was slashed by bloodied talons.
Now, outside, snow arrived with a relentless fury that turned night into a blanket of white reflected by the moon. The fury pelted the windows like white hail.
Alena shook her head. She walked away, to her room to attempt to find some form of peace within sleep. A rest that took her willingly and quickly. Should she have stayed to watch the furious falling blankets of white she would have seen how her blood was absorbed into the marble. She would have known he was arriving. She would have witnessed a transformation that could only be born from the depths of agony.