A shoe slammed down before her, causing the ground to tremor, making Brona fall onto her bottom. The leather stretched end to end of Brona’s vision. The rope used as stitching made clean rows of lines holding the leather’s sleek shapes, which lead Brona’s eyes to find even thicker ropes coming out of the eyelets, laying overtop of one another criss-cross on the shoe’s tongue. As the compression of the leather settled, Brona saw a hazy reflection of herself in the shoe’s brown leather. They were fancy shoes. And as Brona just barely managed to see over the lip of the heel, a loud, bright-coloured sock was deafened by a booming voice resonating from the sky.
“…four, five…si-…’sven, eight… dunno wot I was thinking, the discrepancy is probably on their scale,” said the giant man, taking something out of his trouser pocket. Brona backed further from his every word.
It was well-documented that humans shared the world with titanic people, who were more-or-less just as mundane as humans —but mundane on a gargantuan scale. Just like everyday people, they lived in houses, had their hobbies, likes and dislikes, wore clothes, and were capable of complex thought. Similar to humans, some even had magical properties woven into their blood which allowed them to perform Ouroborics.
Unlike most historical records, the history of the existence of giants was very clear and very much un-lost throughout history. To alter the facts about giants would be to try and hide one of the most obvious facts of life, like ‘the sky is blue’ or to try to ignore the fact that there is a man a hundred feet tall standing over your house asking to borrow some milk. Giants had a very powerful impact on the outcomes of history with many on-lookers, so their lineage was very easy to keep on record. In The Age after Lost Past, the first giant, Sin, came of human parents in the old country of Forgotten. She came into the world humanly small but grew to be a large and powerful knight for her nation. Unable to physically copulate, even after some heretical attempts, the advantage of the Forgottish people ended with Sin’s death, but not after having benefitted from her thousands of years of victories and suppression of neighbouring nations. Another giant did not come into existence until The Mellondric Age, when a boy named Tirun was born into a community of cultic Distorters. The community collectively weaved a chainmail necklace with a shrinking Distortion which allowed Tirun to mask his gigantic form and walk hidden among the other humans. The tragedy of Tirun was that he was groomed as a terrorist in his youth, and later in life, forced into a breeding program by his own people, where he was forced to seed every woman Distorter of-age in the hopes of creating a giant army. Of all his bastards, only one child grew to be gigantic, the rest were left with an abnormality: suffering from a blood thirsting hunger. Tirun’s self-inflicted death is still visible today, as his skeleton hangs over the lands of Hissheild with his signature blade pierced through his collar bone.
Attributive to the ease of keeping records on giants, was that at any moment of time, at most only three giants have ever co-existed. When the world was smaller, there were only enough resources to feed three, otherwise provisions would be stretched thin and they would all starve – save for three. As the world continued to expand over the years, more resources became available, yet the giant population never grew, which was still a widely disputed historical phenomenon.
But, only within the last thirty-thousand years did the record of giants come to a halt, as modern giants requested anonymity to that of human right. The last giant on record was Trip Gallan, who was reportedly serving the Vern queendom and was the last to have her personal life recorded up to his two-thousand and thirty-second year. If giants exist today, they live far apart, and far enough from Late Sun to ever hear about their whereabouts.
Yet, there was a giant standing in the middle of the grass fields of Late Sun.
Brona couldn’t see his face. There was too much person to take in, and from the angle Brona was sat at, she couldn’t see past his khakis. Just seeing his legs though, Brona could tell he was so tall that he could easily stand next to the bridges of Late Sun and have the highest point only come up to his breasts.
And he could just as easily crush me if I don’t get further away from him, thought Brona.
“Kinda strange, innit?” continued the giant, “I can feel the Ouroborics knotted in the soil, but there doesn’t appear to be any obvious lines! Discrepancies! Hells, I can’t tell where the rip in the passage is..” The giant continued to prod the ground with his fingers. He had one knee in the pond which disrupted the flow of the creek when he knelt down, which directly blocked the flow of water and caused it to overflow into the grasses.
Who’s he talking to? thought Brona, but water levels rising around her ankles ripped her mind from idle thoughts. No, crap, I need to get out of here—or maybe I should shout and let him know I’m here?
“Maybe if I – ”
The giant shifted positions, pushing Brona to the ground again. His enormous, posh shoe rose into the air away from her while his hand extended overhead and landed some metres away. His chest fell closer. Was he going to lie down?
“Shit!! Crap!! Fuck!! Bloody!! Holy!!” hyperventilated Brona, trying to remember every swear word Grendt had ever taught her, raising her arms to cover her face – not that they would protect her from the severe crushing that would be caused by the giant’s weight. Thankfully, only the cloth of his shirt touched her face, but this was far closer than Brona wanted to be to a giant man who hadn’t even noticed she was there. His shirt smelled like cardamon and sweat.
Grendt appeared crouched beside Brona underneath the giant. She placed a hand on Brona’s back and ushered her forward. A teary eyed Brona gripped Grendt’s hand stronger than she had ever held onto that bony hand before.
“Oh stop nattering on and help me, will you? … Yes, Dad, this is more of a young man’s job, but it doesn’t mean you can’t at least help pass the utensils to me!” said the giant, grabbing instruments from his pants by himself. In doing so, he shifted his weight and blocked the path Grendt was leading Brona through.
“Grendt…Grendt he’s gonna squish me,” said Brona shakily. Grendt didn’t look at Brona as she spoke. Her eyes darted about their surroundings, looking for the brightest patch of fabric with the strongest amount of light shining through it. It looked like a poorly supported tent underneath the giant’s shirt, which made finding a path out from underneath the man that much harder.
“Ah, there’s the dickens!” said the giant. His voice reverberated like a growl from his chest. His body returned to the lying position it was in before.
From a distance, Brona heard the sound of something being uprooted. The giant had remained in the same position for at least three minutes now. Brona and Grendt used that as confirmation he was going to remain still for a while longer and psyched themselves up to move.
Grendt spoke in a hushed voice, “We’re going to move towards his neck.” She lay as low as she could in the grasses and moved up the giant’s torso towards his head. His vast chest heaved and dropped as he breathed. The sound of him breathing got louder as they stood under his scruffy neck. Brona shivered as the giant swallowed some saliva, his throat dipping. Realistically, it wouldn’t be difficult for him to swallow a person, would it? Probably the hardest part would be to be to get the person adequately coated in saliva enough for them to slide down his throat without him choking from the dryness WORLDS why am I thinking about this, thought Brona to herself. A hot breeze of air exited the giant’s nostrils and blew Brona’s hair making it a bit damp as she walked under his head. Could he hear her? Smell her?
Grendt lifted Brona into her arms and darted leftwards of the giant’s neck until the air smelled like grass again and not breath and sweat.
Brona fell from Grendt’s arms instantly as they cleared the underside of the giant. Grendt had disappeared. Brona was fatigued looking upwards and seeing an expanse of blonde stubble and skin. The hair on the side of the giant’s face was sticky with what Brona assumed to be sweat. giants must get hot easily since there was no shade up so high, or was it colder since the elevation was higher? The giant cleared his throat reinstilling the urgency in Brona to separate herself from the titan. It was hard for Brona to corporealize her blood echo in her stressed state, but she concentrated and Grendt reappeared extending a hand.
“Get up, Brona, we have to move,” said Grendt hurriedly. Brona grasped her hand and raced with her back to the entrance gate. Brona tripped when running, looking back, she had hardly distanced herself from the giant at all. To him, Brona was still only a few centimetres away. Still all too close if he casually changed positions for Brona to be considered a safe distance apart. Grendt grabbed Brona and hoisted her back into a standing pose.
“Now this is interesting, Dad, have a look! Horizon layers O through C are hardly even ten centimetres down! Now measuring closer from home, we know the topsoil reaches at least a shovel’s worth into the earth but look at this! Bedrock just digging by hand!” said the giant.
Just as Brona thought she had endured the worst of this experience (although the complementary lecture on soil ecology was fascinating), the giant began to get up.
His hands shot inwards at unbelievable speed, considering his size, as he pushed himself up from the ground. His knee came up to greet his chest and a familiar and dashing shoe came to meet Brona once more. Throwing subtlety out the window, Brona sprinted as fast as she could to distance herself from the giant. His movements threw Brona off her steady run, the already uneven ground quaking and twisting her ankles. She was enveloped in a dark shadow and looking up, she saw the underside of his shoe.
Grendt manifested in front of Brona and shot something from the ground which made a burning rubber smell fill the air. A dark burn mark appeared on the sole of his shoe.
“Wot the f—” exclaimed the giant before falling backwards. The sound and feel of the giant falling must’ve alerted all of Late Sun of his presence. The quaking of the ground really demonstrated just how heavy these titanic people were. There was no way Brona would survive even a casual brushing of the giant’s body against her’s.
Brona wiped her brow as Grendt disappeared again. She knew Grendt would say to keep pushing towards the gate. Mustering the energy for one last exertion, Brona bolted up the hill as fast as she could away from the large man.
Finally reaching the gate, which was still all too close to the giant, Brona chanced a look back: Standing stories tall in the middle of the field was a lanky boy with blonde-ish hair and facial scruff, dressed in an over-sized trench coat with a white button-up underneath. He wore glasses, though one of the lenses appeared to be cracked, and had a pair of buggish eyes which seemed to bulge from his head. He was also carrying what appeared to be a book. And tying his entire appearance together were those accursed shoes. All in all, he kind of looked like a dork, but he didn’t stand like one, Brona noted. Seeing a giant, let alone one which survived to adulthood, was easily one of the rarest sights to witness. Since the lands were always expanding, the likelihood of encountering a giant was always decreasing, but once Brona got over the size thing – it wasn’t too different than staring at someone at the library. And unlike people at the library, he didn’t glare back –likely because he didn’t know she was there— but still.
Examining the sole of his shoe, the giant looked quizzically around him. His grey eyes widened with an almost angry intensity. “H-Hullo—?”
Brona shouted back to him. “Hey!” The giant continued to look around. He set his foot down, ran a soil covered hand through his hair, and turned his eyes back downward to examine the quarry floor again. It was clear the giant couldn’t hear her. Brona broke a twig off a nearby bush and began scumbling a sigil into the ground which would amplify her voice when she stood on it. She was having a hard time remembering the symbols and tried to muster Grendt for help, but she was drained after trying to preserve her life from a soil obsessed skyscraper of a man, and could hardly find the energy to stand, let alone summon her teacher.
After scribbling more in his notebook, which Brona figured wasn’t a for-reading book, the giant turned on his heel and began to walk away. Brona could feel his tumultuous footfalls reverberate through the ground, even being as far from him as she was. If the horizon was painted in this moment, it would be difficult to spot the giant amongst the trees and hills with how well he blended into his environment. Brona considered following him home to try and solve how exactly he was able to come so close to Late Sun without her noticing.
When he began to vanish.
It wasn’t that he was walking imperceptively far, but the more Brona blinked, the harder it was for her eyes to keep focus on him until the forest behind him could be seen right through. It wasn’t possible that Brona lost track of the giant – he was too big to lose and there was nowhere to hide, and yet, he and the towering forest trees were gone in seconds. The grass quarry returned to looking as it did before, with just the average sized trees, normal length grasses and a modest pond. Oddly though, Brona thought she could still feel his footsteps shaking the ground.
A hard twang began to pulsate in Brona’s head. She had developed a headache in the time that she had seen the giant – but she was thankful that was the only pain she had to deal with and not a missing limb or cracked skull. Brona left the field without anything in-hand, a little too traumatized to return to the field just yet. With her luck, the giant would return to jot more notes down in his notebook and would unintentionally step on her again. She set back on the walk homewards for a much-needed rest.
Only one thought hung in Brona’s mind as she walked home: Where does he shit.