2017-12-02 19:50 fiction short-story mythology folklore Benjamin Brood

The Last Giant

I am a forgotten wilderness. I rise in the mornings, wary and uncharted. At night I descend into solitude. I am not made of the same things as the men. They move quickly, they are always moving, short and frenetic — they buzz. I understand them as I understand anything else, in general terms, in broad movements where themes emerge and dissolve. They do not understand me at all. They acknowledge me, the wide avenue they've created, paved with liquid stone, winding through their cities, this avenue is for me alone. And attempts to communicate with them have failed. I am something to pattern and anticipate, but not something to understand. Like the oceans, like the sun, like the mountains. Maybe some of their kind have tried, I don't know, everything they do happens so quickly. Wasn't it just yesterday that I could look over the roofs of their buildings? Today there are towers that shine in the sun, taller than I am, the men have built things taller than me. And so quickly. They gather in groups and stare, the swarms of them, the men-children, in bunches at the tops of their towers looking down at me. And more often these days I remain still. Part of it might be knowing the futility, of moving. When I am the last giant. A lot of the time I am overwhelmed by recollections of the past. None of the men-children remember when we were everywhere, how could they, they are born and die in less time than it would take to say "FE, FI, FO, FUM". However that isn't a thing I say anymore. Maybe out of spite. So tiring, and I resent providing anything that creates enjoyment for them. I hate them. But I haven't eaten them in a long time. Very long, I think. The last time I did that I became terribly sick, they have poisoned themselves and in doing so poisoned me. Maybe once I could've killed them all. Now there are too many of them and there is no desire anymore, being the last, no, it would be an empty gesture, a diversion at best. We used to roam the lands, different sorts of us, all kinds of us. Just thinking about how many kinds of us there used to be sends a shiver down my spine. There were old ones, rarely seen, but whose existence we were certain of, and revered, we revered the idea of the old things anyway. Then there were the giants at the bottom of the ocean. They could reach up and grab an entire fleet of ships. Sometimes they walked onto land, bringing the ocean tides with them and leaving whales and other leviathans and whole schools of fish a hundred leagues from the shore. And there were the giants from the mountains. They were made of the mountains. The substance of them was rocks and evergreens and mud and capped on the top of their heads was snow, the same snow as the top of the mountains. Like that, they were made of it. And when the mountain giants moved you could feel them shake the Earth, every step was a declaration. There were giants in the clouds. Or so it was said. I never saw them. When they grew angry they would hurl boulders down onto the things that displeased them. Why not lightning? I would ask. No, no, they use boulders, I was told. But I never saw it. There were giants in the woods, this is where I came from. We didn't know we were giants. Not compared to the mountains anyway, not giant to something that gigantic. We lived in the woods, we foraged and we occasionally came together when the moon was full to make fires and drink the barrels of honey we'd collected. These were good times, I remember them, it was simple and loud and we'd pick the deer out of our teeth with trees afterwards and then, exhausted, pass out for a week right there, right where we were. The lot of us, the bunch of us. Then men came. I remember this too, the first time I saw one. No, well, first I smelled it, the man stink, at the edge of the forest. My nose led me, and as I came to the end of the trees I stuck my head out for a thorough whiff and there it was, a tiny thing, a thing that had arms and legs and a head — true — but there was a quality about it that was deformed, misshapen… offensive. And it just stood there looking up at me, with a face that was a stupid mask of idiocy, one that didn't recognize what I was, what I am. I didn't pause, there wasn't a second thought, I grabbed it, with a strong CHOMP I bit it in half. Then I gobbled it right up. It didn't even taste great, but there was a thing in me that hated it, hated its offenses. After that I was unstoppable for a while. I had to seek them out, I had to remove them. But they moved so quickly, they bred so quickly. And I heard stories, from the others, that the men-children had different kinds of themselves too, some called Giant Killers. And I thought, how is this possible? Such tiny things, the little vermin, how can they kill us? Us? But it was true. I knew of one, a friend, as much as we can be friends, as much as we were solitary in our giant nature, who was killed by a man creature, and my friend's head was removed and placed on a huge spike in front of their castle, their shitty castle they were so proud of. It became fashionable with them, with the tiny man creatures, that to kill a giant made them important. Like everything they did they took to it. With despicable industry, with velocity and inventiveness. It seemed like overnight. It wasn't overnight of course, since we can sleep a month of their time, but it seemed it, it seemed overnight that we dwindled. I ran amok but it didn't matter, they found ways to kill us. Us. That next gathering was a sad moment, when the remaining few giants met around the stones we'd placed a thousand years ago, the circle we'd walk into, and looking at us we were sparse let me tell you, there weren't even enough of us to properly shout, to fight, to stamp through a bonfire laughing and rolling. No. It was a somber affair that last year, it was an awkward attempt to be what we had been while we knew inside that the men were the new nature, that those weird little things had won. We could not understand it. Didn't we destroy their armies and their villages? There was a never ending spawn of the men things. Now, walking in their city, I must seem a half dead, bewildered monster, no longer fearsome, some relic. Although recently — was it recently? — I had a flash of ancient outrage and I was able to grab one of the men, one who'd wandered too close, probably because they thought I am feeble now, and I grabbed the man and I hurled him into the sky with all my strength. The scream it made as it arced across the distance was deeply satisfying. They didn't get so close for a while after that. I persist, I suppose, out of spite. But I have this in my mind, my end, the end of the last giant, will be my own doing and less spectacle for them because they make everything into spectacle, into a business. I am not here for them. I have thought about it many times now, as the moment draws near, there is no other way but to disappear. I realize the only way to do that is to get to the stone circle, the stones, from there, I know a way. One day I will walk out of this abomination and walk through whatever is left of the forest. I imagine there is nothing left of the forest, as men have turned it into their business, and they burned it up because they are afraid of the cold, so I will walk out of this city back to the stones and if they try to stop me I will crush them under my feet like I used to do. At the stones I know a way, there are still a couple of secrets that we giants know, the last giant, the last secret. I will enter the stone circle and no longer be the pet of men-children, and then there will be no more giants to remind men of how the world was before they came, before they ruined everything. One day I will.