Arok (The Golems of Astaphor)

In a post-apocalyptic world where humanity is struggling to survive after a terrible war, one girl makes a startling discovery about the past and uncovers a Golem: a mechanical construct that acts and thinks like a human, and possibly the last of his kind. However, there are others that would find the existence of a Golem very interesting indeed....
Cover image by Keepwalking07 on Deviant art.

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2. Arok

 

Kiri had fell down when the thing had woken, and she hadn't dared to move since. She'd been so startled she had nearly wet herself, and that same fear was throbbing through her now, making her feel dizzy as she stared at the silent, still man. I shouldn't be here, was her immediate thought, I should never have came. As time passed and nothing else happened she began to question herself. Did all that really happen? Or am I just mad? Like mum. The possibility was a strong one. People always said that such illnesses could often be hereditary, and she had always seen the ghosts. She had hoped that she was not crazy, that she was seeing real things, but now it seemed less certain. Its getting worse, soon I might be as bad as mum. The thought scared her more than the metal man, so she decided that she was done waiting. She stood up and silently tip-toed towards him on her bare feet. It - or he - did not stir. Whatever I did, it looks like its dead now. She realised that the thing still had her crystal, but there was no mark on its face to show a groove where the box went. Its face was smooth and flawless, and she reached down to touch it. And screamed as, quick as a snake, its eyes opened and its hand grabbed her arm in a tight grip. His eyes were not red any more, she noticed, and it felt as though he was truly looking at her with his eyes that consisted only of a blue light. It was odd, seemed impossible, but something about him seemed alive – it's his eyes, she realised, the only part of his face that seemed to express what he was thinking, which where now narrowed in a suspicious, irritated squint.

“How?” he said in that odd voice, “Where am I? Who are you?” His eyes widened suddenly, “Who... am I?”

Kiri's mind had frozen, and all she could think to say was, “Let go of me.” He complied and let her go, sitting up and supporting himself with his arms.

“Who am I? I'm sure that's important, why don't I remember....” Kiri sat in front of him, her arms around her legs as she stared at him.

“I don't know what you are or who you are.” She said after a long pause, “But I do know where we are, and who I am. I'm Kiri, and you are under the city of Gedna.” His eyes flared suddenly in what Kiri could only guess was recognition.

“You mean Gendazia. I was in Gendazia... before... before... something.”

“What? No its Gedna, it has been since I was born.”

The metal man looked at her fearfully then, “What year is this?”

“305,” she replied.

“That makes no sense. It was 1100M when I... when I lost consciousness.”

“This is the year 305AW, I have no idea when 'M' was.” she said, just as confused as him, and very aware that this whole situation was insane

“M was the category of year, which changed category every ten thousand years. What category is AW?”

Kiri shook her head, “I don't think its a category. AW stands for After War.” To this he uttered a sound similar to a laugh and a sob.

“Three hundred years then. At the least. I feel like I've lost something, but I cant remember what. My memory must have been damaged.” He sat there in silence for a long time after that, still as a statue. Kiri looked at her feet, unsure what to say or what to think.

“Umm,” she started, “Are... are you alive? What exactly are you?” He looked at her with his head cocked to the side.

“You mean to say you have never seen my kind?”

“No, never. Never anything like you.” Her reply seemed to worry him.

“I'm a Golem, a Talos class Golem to be precise. Am I alive? Well, it depends on who you ask. I think I am alive. I think and feel like you, although I'm not technically living in the sense that you or other organisms live. I am mechanical – constructed by humans. An artificial intelligence.”

Kiri hadn't a clue what to say to that, nor did she fully understand what he was saying. Someone made him? Kiri then spied a small section of writing on his ruined chest: 'Arok,' it said, the first part of the word missing.

“Could that be your name? Arok?” She said, pointing. The man's eyes didn't change.

“I don't know, but for now that will have to do - one must have a name, correct? It is a pleasure to meet you, Kiri, I am Arok.”

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