Idle Hands

Idle Hands.png

This Weeks Prompt: 7. Horror Story. The sculptured hand—or other artificial hand—which strangles its creator.

The Resulting Story:The Devil’s Playthings

This prompt tells us right off we are in a horror story. So, a horror story we shall plan. The key thing with this piece is the nature of the hand. Hands are interesting item to focus on, as the phrase “Right hand man” and “Not tell the left hand what the right hand is doing” all belie. Hands are typically servants (the hands of the King) or signifies of will (the hand of God). From a literary point of view, the hand betraying its creator is…well, there’s a lot to read in there.

And part of that is the tendency, well, for creations to turn on their creator. We, in our illustrious modern age, take this with the Robot uprising. Robots are, until the introduction of some AI, treated as sort of perfect servants. The analogy to human’s as the minds to robot hands was drawn by the wonderful Aaron Diaz, who’s work takes a more positive view of trans-humanism then we must. Horror is, sadly, reactionary to some degree when it comes to technology.

Earlier ages enjoyed the rebellion of Adam, whether in Frankenstein or Paradise Lost. In this case, the metaphor for playing god is more literal than modern automaton revolts imply. Frankenstein goes further and draws from the golem legend, where the act of Genesis is almost totally redone. In the Golem of Prauge, however, the Golem grows and grows, becoming hungry and unmanageable.

All of this traces back further still to that age of Greek and Roman myth. The Prometheus story, the invention that the gods forbid and the subject of the all-mighty who rebelled. But the horror of this story is not necessarily its ancient roots.

Playing god is dangerous, but there is something unnerving about the object of our labor, which we have poured our time and soul into, coming to life against our will. Worse, pursuing and assaulting us. It is best, the object of obsession. The work that consumes the life of its creator, both metaphorically and literally. Now, that is perhaps a bit cliché. A bit on the nose. But it is something to keep in mind.

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