Jacobi thought he would retire from sculpting after this last piece, and he was right. A marble etching of the famous Greek hero Hercules (or Heracles, depending on the pedantry of the observer), it was Jacobi’s finest work to date, likely to sell for millions and earn him an easy retirement.
However, the statue had other plans.
The instant Jacobi made the final master stroke, scraping away an errant imperfection, the statue turned and looked at its creator. Jacobi shrieked, tumbling backwards off his stepladder and crashing among marble dust and shavings, chalking him white. Hercules blinked, then observed himself (itself?) in Jacobi’s nearby standing mirror. Draped in nothing but a lion pelt, with a club in hand, the statue turned its head in curiosity. It touched its face, its marble body. Its expression contorted into pain, sadness, fury.
Jacobi cowered as the statue swiped its club at the stepladder, sending it sailing across the room. There was no way the marble wouldn’t crumble with that kind of force, Jacobi thought. This was all impossible–
Hercules whirled the club overhead, giving Jacobi just enough time to roll to the side before the club crashed into the cement floor of the studio, leaving behind a tremor and a rippling tear in the floor. Fearing for his life against all logic, Jacobi fled across the studio, only for the statue to drop its club and peel a chunk of cement straight from the ground, lifting it high above the statue’s curly white hair, and hurling it at Jacobi.
“Wait!” Jacobi screamed, barely dodging the cement as it smashed into the studio entrance, blocking the doorway. “Wait! You are my creation!”
The statue looked to be trying to speak, dryly coughing out marble chalk. Jacobi was amazed that he could hear a vocalization. He hadn’t made a heart and brain and lungs for the thing, let alone vocal cords. But there it was, trying to speak. Jacobi couldn’t understand, even when Hercules’s voice seemed clear, if low and rough. It was speaking some kind of foreign language. Ancient Greek?
Jacobi approached his creation cautiously. Hercules made no move to attack.
“Can you understand me?” Jacobi asked.
Hercules tilted its head.
Jacobi motioned to his tools. Pantomimed carving marble. Then he pointed at Hercules. Then to the mirror. Hercules looked in the mirror, then down to its body again. Its hands. The statue’s shoulders shook softly, but no tears fell. Jacobi rested his chalky hand on Hercules’s broad shoulder, which was over a head taller than the sculptor’s full height.
A statue come to life, thought Jacobi. Of course it was a Greek statue. But I need not love this creation like Pygmalion did his. I have never loved my work. But I love the wealth they bring. And this statue–this man, this demigod–will bring me more wealth than I ever could have dreamed.
Today’s three random prompt categories were, “Strength,” “A get-rich-quick scheme,” and, “A piece of art comes to life.”
I don’t know if I’d rely on a statue coming to life as an effective get-rich-quick scheme, but no doubt it would get you rich quickly if it happened.