Richard had been her first client, and her first failure. Maybe that had been for the best. There had been a few other failures over the years. But Richard had been the worst.
He’d come to see Gram of course. But she was too sick to try to help him at that time. So he had to settle for Katie. Fortunately, he knew enough about his condition to give Katie a head start.
He was a golem, a creation made of mud. He’d been conjured by a nice widow woman to be her house man. Her husband had died very young. She needed someone to look after the home repairs and yard work. She didn’t trust hired help. So after some unconventional research, she found an old book that described the perfect servant and explained how to ‘make’ one of her own.
She treated him well and taught him to love beautiful things. Not just material, but natural. He also learned to love living and people.
The problem was, fifty years after she had made him, she was dying. And according to all he could find out, at her death, he would cease to exist. Even though he cared for her, he wasn’t excited about his impending demise. There were still things he wanted to see, things he wanted to learn.
Katie liked Richard. He was soft spoken and well educated. She felt he did deserve to have more life. She asked Gram if there was anyway to help him. Gram had looked at her sadly, and shook her head. It was the way the conjure worked. No one else could redo it. In fact, she didn’t even know if the spell Richard’s widow woman had used still existed.
Katie spent weeks going through Gram’s notebooks. She scoured the library in the city. The Internet was in it’s infancy. Google didn’t exist. There were mentions of golems in one of the oldest notebooks. But nothing useful. There were books of myth or of the sci-fi/fantasy genre. But they were of no use, either. Richard had no idea what book his maker had found.
Richard told her it was alright. She’d done everything she could. It didn’t make her feel any better.
The day came when the woman was at her final breaths. What family she had was at her bedside. Richard, only being ‘the help’ was allowed to make his final good bye, then was released from his duties. He sat with Katie the rest of that day
She watched as he took in as much of the world as he could. It had been a beautiful summer day. Flowers were in bloom, the sun was shining. There was a soft breeze.
They sat outside, close to the woods, out of sight of people. Several times she saw him shudder, and seem to become fuzzy to her. Then he sort of pulled himself together and remarked on a bird song or falling leaf.
Suddenly, he grabbed both of her hands. He looked into her eyes and smiled sadly. “Thank you, thank you for your time.”
Seconds later, she held just hands full of dried mud.