It's 1940 in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, and Jacob's grandfather has repeatedly warned him of the danger surrounding their small village. But Jacob doesn't listen. When bullies try to take his prized marble from him, Jacob hides in his synagogue's attic. He feels safe from them there because he's remembered that the attic is forbidden territory, and when he opens a huge crate and finds a man made of clay, Jacob remembers something else.
His grandfather has told him stories of an earthen defender of the Jews of Prague. Could this be the man of his grandfather's stories? If it is, then no one would dare take his marble or harm his village. All he has to do is speak one single word to bring the clay man to life. Should Jacob do it?
I've long heard good things about Rebecca Cantrell's writing, and when I saw that this digital short story was available I thought I'd go for a test drive. If I liked this story, then I'd make a point to read her books. What's the verdict? I'll be reading a Rebecca Cantrell novel in the near future.
This short story is so good that I wished there were more to it. Jacob is a very annoying little boy who seems to go out of his way to not pay attention to what he's been told. He's oblivious to the danger all around him. As far as Jacob is concerned, he's bulletproof. He is invincible. But the reader isn't oblivious. To the reader, the very atmosphere seems filled with dread.
Cantrell uses the Jewish legend of the golem not only to build suspense and foreboding, she uses it to provide a wonderful little twist at the end that I really enjoyed. Here's yet another example of a digital short story helping me find a new author to read!
"The Man in the Attic" by Rebecca Cantrell
Rebecca Cantrell © 2014
Digital short story, approximately 15 pages
Source: Purchased from Amazon.