Art and words of Josh Burns.

The Instrument: The Brass Jawed Golem

Toward the end or the 1690’s the creations known as golem were not longer being used by their masters. The High Rabbis, who once utilized the hulks of dirt and sand for numerous tasks, had heard the widespread accounts of the golems turning on their creators. Or had themselves been punished for their misuse. Regardless of the reason the golem was in decline in Europe. A maddeningly brilliant alchemist, Fogdan Demoldov, also used a golem for menial tasks in his work. Demoldov always found the golem to be simple and unpredictable. Before meeting a most unfortunate end, Demoldov went to work on what would become his legacy. He set out to create a golem that was sentient. To achieve his goal, he created a computer of sorts. The device would rapidly cycle through commands in the interior of the golem’s mouth. Traditionally a golem was controlled by placing parchment in the mouth of the creature. This computer bypassed the process. The alchemist fashioned each command to be what he saw as being sentient “Live” “Think” “Intuit” “Learn”. He used the lower half of decorative brass mask to house the un-pious piece of mechanical genius. The inner workings of the device were staggering. It appeared not to follow rules that applied in this world. A cylindrical gear appeared to make a figure-eight when placed in the device. Acute angles appeared obtuse and the whole interior of the thing seemed to be vastly larger than the housing would allow. When the device was completed it was placed on the deactivated golem. The brass jaw whirred softly when it made contact with the still earth of the creation. Demoldov was enraged by the apparent lack of life. The golem sat with its half crumbled face, still as the soil it was made from. The mad alchemist went feverishly back to his notes and books, leaving the unmoving thing to sit. After some time, the discourage creator entered the laboratory with plans to salvage what he could from the failed experiment.

To his astonishment, he found the seven-foot behemoth reading one of the many books in the lab. It’s face had completely reformed and in the black holes that represented the eyes a dim amber glow emanated. The golem worked for about a year for his creator. Demoldov had set his sights on a new goal. To cheat death. This new aim prompted the mad alchemist to delve deeper into the darker side of his craft. He set his sights on the Necronomicon and all of its evil. One evening in the late fall of 1698 the golem returned home after running errands for his creator. The mist was thick from the damp evening and the stone of the ancient home was shiny with condensation. The night was still, no wind. The golem entered through the stable door as he had been instructed to do and descended into the bowels of the archaic structure. Demoldov had sent the golem out on errands so he would not be disturbed while working. When the towering hulk entered the lab, the sight he witnessed drew something from deep within the whirring instrument… Anger. The Alchemist was mid-step in an arcane ceremony that would turn even the devil’s stomach. Three young women lay at his feet, each drenched in blood and a fourth on an altar constructed of what looked like deer carcasses. The room was humid with blood and other fluids. The book, the wrenched Necronomicon lay open, nestled in the mandibles of the desecrated animal. When the Alchemist had created the instrument he was of a much fitter mind. Some of the commands that echoed through the body of the golem were basic like “Learn” but others were more akin to advice of a father “Seek Justice” “Stand up for those who cannot”. It was those commands that rang in every pebble of the golem when he came upon the ancient right. With speed, unpredictable for his size, the golem was on Demoldov. The mad alchemist was in a deep trance, still chanting, he didn’t react as the golem crushed his torso. The cracking of ribs didn’t stop the chanting, it was now fueled from somewhere beyond the alchemist. The golem’s fists reigned down on the heap of a man. Finally, the chanting stopped, and  Demodolv’s body was still. But the evil that had welled up inside the now broken man would not go easily back to its dark dungeon. Demoldov’s body creaked and cracked as the broken bones rubbed their frayed ends on one another. His head began to shake violently and the walls of the cellar lab shook. The mad alchemist’s body bucked one more time and let out a beastly howl. The sickly howl shook the foundation and brought the stone home down upon the unholy scene. In a matter of seconds, the structure had become a grave. This would not be the last of the golem. The nature of the instrument’s construction had made it indestructible.

In the summer of 1907 a group of three archeologists had set out to excavate the demolished Demoldov home. They were interested in the tales of the mad alchemist, the strange story of the building’s destruction and the ghost stories that propagated in the proximity of the ruin. the excavation was routine until they reached the lower laboratory level. They found the five bodies, the evidence of the arcane ceremony and a strange brass device, undamaged, untarnished. and emitting a slight whirring sound. They cataloged their discoveries and continued the excavation. As the weeks passed the three men began to share sickly dreams, of blood, destruction, and man-shaped monsters. But all centered firmly around the brass device. They worked day and night, hoping to find clues to its origin and secondly to escape the dreams that haunted them. Finally, one of the men found the notes on the creation of the brass device. They started referring to the device, as the notes did, as “The Instrument”. One evening as the haunted men worked, a loud crack was heard coming from the tent that housed the cataloged pieces. When the men arrived they came upon the monstrous man-shaped thing that had haunted their nights. The instrument, now free from the rock prison had reformed from the surrounding earth. The cracking noise had been the crate that held the instrument giving way. The men in an exhaustion fuel rage attacked the instrument with their mining tools. Each strike took a piece of the behemoth off, but to their astonishment the wounds would fill seconds after each hit. One of the men produced his pistol and fired three times wildly. Two of the bullets pierced the soil that made up his face. The third hit the brass jaw and deflected, striking one of the men in the arm. As they came to the aid of their fallen comrade, the instrument escaped into the woods behind the ruins. The haunted men tracked sightings for almost a year before finally cornering the man-shaped monster that still bedeviled their dreams. As they had been searching, they also researched the mysterious creature and posited a means of destroying the instrument. In the Tunguska Forest in Siberia in the early morning of the  thirtieth of June 1908 the three men fixed to end their nightmares. Each armed with hand scribed notes from the mad alchemist, and transcribed passages from the Necronomicon, they approached the instrument, reciting the words from the accursed book. The instrument wrenched down to the ground, the dark words shaking the very structure that gave him life. The whirring of the device intensified to a low bass hum. The Instrument rose as the men closed in. Heat emanated from the device as the hum continued to intensify. Then it suddenly stopped. The Instrument appeared to be still. The men paused to see if their theory had been correct, but before they could inspect the now unmoving behemoth, the glow in his eyes rekindled and the Tunguska forest was leveled and the three men were reduced to ash. Destroying all information on his creation and possible means of destruction. No other reports of shared nightmares about a man-shaped monster ever surfaced. Upon investigation of the Tunguska Event, the mysterious organization known as “The Inspectors” gained possession of the strange brass device. But after a brief time the artifact mysteriously disappeared.

Years later a strange seven-foot dirt man was reported by army patrols on the outskirts of the villages in the vicinity of the Tunguska forest. He moved south as the first world war broke out. The instrument took a more protective role to the people who accepted his existence and were willing to hide him. A folk hero to some, a beastly monster to those who try to oppress the weak. For years, he found refuge in the towns and villages of eastern Europe. As years went on people became less accepting of the old ways. He, again, was forced to move. When the second world war broke out he saw the oppression of the Nazis. He dedicated himself to assisting those who couldn’t help themselves. At first he did this in secret. Then after being discovered by allied forces, he started to accompany the soldiers on missions. The allied forces paranormal division took particular interest in the towering creation. Often the soldiers would come back from battle carrying only the brass device. The instrument was known to jump on grenades to save the other soldiers. He would also offer his head in assistance in locating sniper nests. Each time he would come back destroyed, the men would throw the device on a fresh dirt pile and in a day or so the instrument would return. Stories of the hulk filtered through the ranks to the point where a soldier who showed exceptional toughness or bravery would be given the nickname “Brass Jaw”.

When the second world war ended the American Army Sciences Division took an interest in the instrument. They took him to the US for study. Not much was learned in that time. Scientists produced theories, but none could conclusively be proven, aside from the brass device always smelled like lilies. After extensive study, the Americans decided that it was important to see what would happen to the instrument in an atomic blast. At Bikini Atoll in 1954, an atomic bomb was exploded on the ancient golem. The brass device was found undamaged, and with no signs of being irradiated. Although the instrument seemed to not be able to reform from irradiated material. The Instrument was carted away for more study and eventually placed in a hermetically sealed chamber to prevent any inert material from getting in, and allowing the instrument to reform. In 1979, a theoretical physicist was given access to the Brass artifact. He proposed the most compelling theory as to why the device appears to be indestructible. The creation of the device bent space-time and the device exists and was created in three different parallel universes. It exists in all three and that connection protected any individual dimension’s version from being destroyed. To truly destroy the device a person would have to destroy it in two parallel dimensions and our own universe. On January thirtieth, 1982 another physicist was given access to the instrument. However, when the chamber was opened the device was gone. The floor of the chamber looked like it had melted upward towards the pedestal that the device once sat. The odd hole in the floor led down into a maintenance sub-basement. There is no information on the current location of the Instrument.


3 responses

  1. zac

    cool that you included the inspectors. getting you’re own little multi-verse happenin’. maybe brassjaw assisted in mullers demise? could add your zombosapiens? localize your zombosapien concept to a chain of islands, rather than worldwide…. then maybe our bovoid eyes would get to witness the end.

    February 29, 2012 at 1:05 am

    • I think that a lot of the things I think up could exist in the same universe. And I think, where warranted, that they should definitely meet, interact and so on. I had thought of tying in Muller and the golem, Maybe a follow-up in the future?

      March 4, 2012 at 11:54 pm

      • zac


        March 5, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Let me know what you think.

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