The giant slowly stepped forward, careful to catch the gleam of the moon when it, momentarily, struggled through the storm and settled on the very edge of his bloodied ax. The bits of light that hit the blade were reflecting back upon the gigantic man’s horrible face, which only revealed more nastiness. For example, he was wearing a wig and beard of stolen human hair. I had no doubt that the poor bastards that had ‘donated’ their lovely locks were, more than likely, missing a lot more than just their hair. He also wore a gigantic animal-skin coat, which was covered in a mess of skulls with antlers nailed to the tops of them. All and all, he looked about as inhuman as a human can get.
The monster finally broke through his smile and spoke.
“You have beat me. You have humiliated me. You have drawn my blood and raised bruises upon my flesh. You have tried to crush my mind. You have tortured me. You raped my mother. You forced her to give birth and die in the cold. You forced me into the mouths of wolves even before I had drawn my first breath. But I’ve shed your sins, you worthless maggot. I have put my burden upon these fools, to observe how normal men might shoulder your evil. I did to them as you have done to me… See how easily they fell to your second-hand wickedness? See how their flesh split, how their bones snapped, and how their very souls fled the touch of your foulness? And while your venom was potent enough to kill these fools…its proven useless against me. You have proved useless against me. I still breathe. I still stand. I still rage. And now, finally, after a lifetime of pain…we shall see how well you fare against me. But before we begin, I want you to look closely at this axe, father. For, you see, I’ve sharpened this axe with every slight you’ve ever paid me, one kiss against the whetstone per sin…and now, at long last, you’ve honed an edge worthy of cleaving stone, let alone flesh…”
I could see, clear as day, every single horrible thing that the father had ever done to his son. I saw the thorn bushes where he laid his deformed baby—to toughen it against the tortures of the world. I saw an old, leathery man toss his adolescent son into a pit of wild beasts, so as to instruct his offspring in combat. I saw a cruel man bury his son beneath gigantic boulders, leaving him for days and days, until the young, misshapen man managed to shove the rocks aside. The horrors were beyond belief, and I found it hard to fathom that any one man could commit so many, many evils against another man, let alone his own son. But what was hardest to believe—the giant had survived every single one of his father’s ungodly trials.
It should go without saying that I was rooting for the giant.
The old man wasn’t without words, however.
“You ungrateful dog! You’re what you are cuz I made ya that way! Ya think those wolves would’a let ya go after just the one taste, huh?! You might’a bin tall, but it wuz me that made ya strong, filled ya with muscle, put fire in’ya! Ya think yer whelp of a mother would’a done that fer ya, do ya? Hell no! she’d a coddled ya, cried all over ya, every single night…till ya was soft as mud. Is that what ya wanted? Ya miss yer mommy, huh? That stupid cow? If she’d lived long enough, she would’a up an’ threw you to those wolves…an’ run away as fast as she could while them dogs was chewing away on yer gristle. That’s what kind of a cow yer momma was…nothing but a luhyer and a coward! So, c’mon, boy! Let yer daddy see what yer made of! What I made you inta! Least I’ll die knowin’ what a good job I done, bein’ yer daddy, an’ all!”
The giant wasted no time and thundered across the hollow, axe held high. But his father was no slouch in a fight, it turned out. As the giant brought his axe down, the old man stepped around the huge killing blade, calmly, even as the earth split open and puked mud and blood. Then the old man laid that ham-sized fist of his into the side of his son’s twisted jaw. Now, I’m no brawler, but I’d bet that shot would have laid out just about any man in the world. I don’t think the giant even flinched. He just smiled. Every chance he got, in between the swings of the massive axe, his dad tried to put the big man on his back, but each time he tried the giant would just laugh. And, Jesus—that laugh! It was so deep, it seemed to drag across the ground, tearing up the mud and tree-roots as it went.
The father used every filthy, dirty trick he could think of, but none of it worked. Not even close. The giant took every elbow, body-block, fist-to-the-nuts and finger-in-the-eye the old man threw at him. In the end, the giant just hoisted his father into the air, holding him by the neck, crushing him, slowly. The gentle sound of the rain lent the scene a kind of beauty, like a flower blooming in the dark. I loved it (even though I was seeing things a little too up-close-and-personal). The son held his axe up in front of his father’s straining face…and then threw the axe into the shadows. After staring a few seconds at his dad’s wincing face, the big man announced, “No. You aren’t getting the axe, father…I think, instead, I’ll drown you like the rat you are, HAHAHAHA!”
The giant laughed that monstrous laugh all the way to the banks of a surging river. After he waded into the water as far as he was able, the monster held his father up above the water, so that the older man’s feet just barely scraped the tops of the white waves. And then, with very little pageantry, the giant plunged his father beneath the black water. His father kicked and splashed very little, as I’m fairly sure the old bastard knew he was pretty much screwed. But just before the old man was finished, the sound of wolves came through the rush of water. The monster tilted his ear to the sound…and smiled. The giant took the near-drowned man from the waters and then threw him onto the muddy riverbank. The old man was still breathing, but incapable of movement. The giant withdrew a bone-handled skinning knife from a sheath that was strapped to his huge leg, and then used it to make a couple of gashes across his father’s arms. Within minutes, a pack of wolves had gathered near the banks of the raging river. The hungry things surrounded the two men, snarling and showing their huge teeth. The giant glared at the lead wolf, and stepped forward. The wolves cowered and whined at the monster’s approach…and then parted to let him pass through their ranks. Because I was unfortunate enough to view all of this through the senses of the father, I got to hear every wet sound those hungry fuckers made as they ripped that old man apart. But, worst of all, was that giant’s goddamned laughter—I could hear it above the screams, the storm, and the surging water.
When I woke up, I could smell the dead bear that was laid, in pieces, next to me…And I could hear the baying of a dog that had no business being alive.
What a night…
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