GIANTS


(Note: This is a series of short stories I’m uploading onto my site. You can find the other short stories on this page.)


 

GIANTS

Long before the foundations of humanity’s first city settled into the damp, brown earth, there was a war that tore apart the world.

Brother against sister, lover against lover, student against teacher—the battle raged from day to night and night to day, ceaseless even as the passage of the year flowed onward in the skies above. The sun beat on and the moon rose high; the shadow of the lunar phases turned blood red, but still, the battle persisted. Fighters grew as large as their will, brushing their palms against the war-torn clouds, then bending low and tearing evergreen trees from their roots to arc through the air as a weapon.

In the end, only one fighter remained. The fighter emerged from the chaos, panting with the energy of destruction. There had been no allegiances, no sides to choose. There was merely terror, and death, and the cold kiss of steel meeting bone for no reason other than the pleasure derived from the smack of such a sound. The last fighter—the best fighter of them all—hunted for another enemy amongst the festering corpses, searching the mountains and the valleys for some sign of life beating on. Only there was nothing else. There was silence and there was rain: there was the quiet mist that wafted up from the oceans and covered the fighter to the knee, dragging it heavier and heavier still until it could go on no longer.

All was still. All was silent. And in this void, the whispers began to haunt the fighter. The trees spoke of their fallen kinsmen and the tall grasses groaned of the slick red that coated its roots. Voices in every corner of the globe muttered on no matter where the fighter went. The fighter jumped into the clouds and spent days with fire in the sky. Still the sounds continued. Soon there was no place else the fighter could retreat save a hollow on the ground. The fighter curled in and sighed, and declared the world finished.

The fighter melded into earth. The earth tucked the fighter into its womb and spread its skin over the last of the war.

Today the fighter remains in the shape of a mountain, legs and arms held close to center and face turned inward, half contorted in the throes of death and forever in mourning of a loneliness worse than suffering.

“That’s not how the story goes.”

“Of course it is.”

“My God, what kind of whacked-up version are your teachers recounting?”

“Oh, sure, I suppose you can tell it better.”

“Hell yeah, I can.”

Long before the foundations of humanity’s first city settled into the dry, brown earth, there was a war that tore apart the world.

Brother against sister, lover against lover, student against teacher—the battle raged from day to night and night to day, ceaseless even as the passage of the year flowed onward in the skies above. The sun beat on and the moon rose high; the shadow of the lunar phases turned blood red, but still, the battle persisted. Fighters grew as large as their will, brushing their palms against the war-torn clouds then bending low and tearing evergreen trees from their roots to arc through the air as a weapon.

Only one fighter strayed from the chaos. The fighter waded through the rotting corpses and gagged at the heinous smell, choking and choking upon the blood trickling backward from nose to throat. The ground shuddered with each step from every collision of force: feet the size of boulders pressing grooves into the rivers. Lighter and lighter still, the fighter was unrooted, pushed in every aimless direction with every battle fled.

Screams. Agony. Pain. The fighter clasped hands over misshapen ears but no barrier could hold back the whispers and no light could drive back the fury that the earth possessed like wrapped skin. So the fighter ran—headfirst into the deepest crevasse in the world. Down there, the fighter was no longer the fighter but the sleeper, and there the sleeper lived forever. The war above ended but the sleeper could not surface, and so the land moved on and the blood turned to stone. The skies rained waves and the deserts dried to sand; the plains cleared into a formidable green and the sun hailed bright. The deepest crevasse in the world filled and filled with the storms that shuddered down from the clouds, and the sleeper became submerged in blue, shuddering with the deep.

Today the sleeper sleeps on at the bottom of the world. A lake sits steady to the top of the crevasse, and those who dare to listen can still hear the heartbeat of the sleeper thundering at the bottom.

 

FIN

 

© Chloe Gong

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