The Golem of Deneb Seven
by Alex Shvartsman
I was eleven years old when the war came to Deneb system.
At first, we didn't know that anything was wrong. Mom and Dad were clearing the
table after dinner, Avi was building some sort of a castle out of plastic
construction blocks, Sarah was asleep in her crib, and Grandpa was reading one of
his thick Hebrew books, leaning into the volume and squinting a little by
candlelight. I sulked because I was going be the only girl in my class to miss
Karen's birthday party tomorrow.
There would be no chatting or video games for me that evening, or until after
dinner the following night, because we weren't supposed to use electricity on
Shabbos. This weekly routine was difficult to accept while living in the place
where few others shared our beliefs. It was far more frustrating this time around,
because Dad wouldn't drive on Shabbos, either, and that meant I had no way to get
to Karen's party. All the other girls were going to be there. Her parents were
bringing in a magician all the way from the city, and it had been the talk of the
school for weeks. So I sulked, wondering why God didn't want me to have any
For lack of anything better to do, I was staring out the window when I saw a streak
of white light shoot across the night sky. I watched it fall toward the ground in a
great wide arc, but before it completed its downward journey there was another,
"Look, Dad, quick! A meteor shower!" I waved him over and pressed my face
against the glass. Father set down the salad bowl and came over. He stood behind
me and peered out the window. The sky was raining with shooting stars.
"Those aren't meteors," said Dad. "They're spaceships. Rivkah, bring me the
I ducked around some of Avi's toys and ran into Dad's study. There was only a
little light from the candles in the living room, but I was able to find the scroll
Dad unrolled the flex plastic across the table and swiped it on. Grandpa said
nothing, but he watched from across the room and sighed theatrically to express
his displeasure. Mom stopped what she was doing, and even Avi looked up from
the building blocks, sensing that something unusual was happening.