The Giant: A Short Story

By Tatiana Bogdanov

     There’s a giant, who lives in the mountains. He sleeps in the valleys between them at night, and sits and watches the small town below in the day.

     The mountains are invariably cold. It’s always grey; the light, or the lack of it, making everything even more hopeless. Wind always blows the snow in your face, as if you’ve insulted its mom. The few trees that grow in the valleys quiver all hours of the day. The few animals that dare to call the mountains their home never last long; all except the giant. The giant is used to the cold. He’s reckless. He’s old, jaded.

     But the giant hates the mountains, quite honestly. It’s awfully lonely. It snows in the summer. All he can do is sit outside and occasionally smoke. Sometimes the distant lights of the town keep him up at night. Sometimes, he can even hear the people’s laughter; it never fails to make him bitter. There’s beauty all over the town; here, it’s nowhere to be found. The mountains are menacing, even to those who tower over them. They will never be tamed. There’s no reason to climb a mountain, for a view of snow.

     There’s no music to fill the air; no smooth saxophone played, or folky guitar to make everything a little warmer. There was a piano key hit here, once, but it only echoed. There are no children to make everything a little more innocent. The Milky Way in the sky, in the inky black nights, isn’t beautiful; it only reminds of the vastness of the universe.  

     From a distance, the mountains look like an abyss. There’s not a flicker of light at night. Not a howl from a lone wolf. Not the smell of anything human, or alive; just the snow on the ground. The only colour is grey, or a deep, lonely blue, depending on the time of day. The only way you could find happiness here is if you lived with your head inside a dream. The rock has been abused by snow like small bullets. The pines are nearing the end of their life; the syrup inside them finally starting to give up and freeze. You can’t smell them.

     The silence hits him hard, some nights. Only the sound of the wind, and the pines brushing against each other. Sometimes he can hear the sounds of the cosmos; the ethereal noises, the remnants of the time everything exploded into existence. White noise, a whooshing that never stops. Noisy, but silent all the same. It’s the kind of silence that you whisper in because you don’t want to interrupt it. Sometimes, he stares up into the night sky and reads the stories the stars write, though at this point he’s read them all. From Orion’s belt to the story of the Water Bearer.

     Though he’s lived here for years, he can’t remember why he’s here. He can pinpoint the moment he arrived, the very first night he laid down in a valley and tried to get to sleep. The cold froze his tears and kept his feet frosty. He can recall walking into the mountains, wind covering his body in goosebumps, feeling the sobs building in his chest; mind storming with just how hopeless, helpless, hapless he felt. In that moment, walking between the rocks, he could only focus on how upset he felt. The twilight was unforgiving, to be fair, showing the lifelessness of the wasteland he walked into in its full glory. But for the life of him, he can’t think of why he’s here.

     Maybe it was because of everyone else. Maybe it was every person who had expectations so highly of him, that he couldn’t bear to live up to them. Every person who left him and never told him why. Every person he couldn’t make himself talk to, for the fear of being judged. Perhaps, it was how, no matter how friendly some were to him, how much they loved him and told him they loved him, he always felt like a misfit. He never belonged. Like between him and them, there was a canyon fifty miles deep and a hundred miles wide, and he could never ever cross it. The only person he could talk to, being himself. Unloved by even the most unloved; unwanted by even the loneliest. Left feeling like he had an unpayable debt that he owed.

   One could suggest that the fact that his father never loved him as one of the reasons, or at least never showed the love.

Another might say that he went to the mountains of his own accord. He sent himself into exile. He shoved everyone away, every smiling face that just wanted to help. He never could talk about his feelings all that good. He acted nasty and mean, to make them hate him. He felt, to his very core, that he deserved to be all alone. Never thought it, but felt it. He was so focused on the hate and sadness that was taking root in his mind, infiltrating every fold of his brain, that he couldn’t focus on anyone, or anything else. He was blinded by the way he was caving in.

     But whatever the reason he’s there, the giant is miserable. He hates the mountains every day. The cruel rock seems to taunt him, everytime he tries to sleep. The pine trees seem to be even more depressed than him. The stars are more alive than anything here. And yet; he doesn’t go back.

He doesn’t know what going back would hold for him.

Love?

Probably not.

So instead, he sits in the mountains.

     The wind displaces his hair. Snow dusts his shoulders and blankets the mountains. The cosmos live in the sky (he thinks of joining them often). The clouds of gas, vibrant greens and purples, talk about the birth of new stars. A heartbeat is out of place here. The lonesome pines’ needles become frayed with the gales that come through the valleys. The cold kills any animal that tries to visit. There’s nothing but the smell of snow in the air. The silence will never leave him; will always ring in his ears.

    No more tears from him. His eyes are dry, his heart is cold, his brain is filled with guilt, pain, hurt, shame.

He’s as stuck as the mountains.

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