I was twelve years old when I saw my grandfather die. I say my grandfather but he was the only father I ever really had. My dad left before I was born and my grandfather Harry pitched in to support my mother and sisters and I. He was 68 years old and still working fifty hours a week at the mill just to help my mom put food on the table and keep the lights on. He was crossing the front lawn and making his way inside when they got him. I was sitting on this booger colored old sofa we used to have and watching him from the living room window. I remember I was so eager to find out if he’d brought any little candies home for my sisters and I.
I ran out to the porch to greet him and was waving my arms in the air in an excited frenzy when I saw it. It was one of them.. a real flesh and blood giant. I’d seen them on the TV and in the far distance while in the car with my mom running errands but this was the first time I’d ever got a look at a real live one up close. This was one of the smaller ones. It couldn’t have been more than eighteen feet tall. Its skin was a drooping collage of gray and green and red with pulsating veins. It was covered in large patches of white mold. It wore no clothes but sex was impossible to determine due to the tangle mass of sweaty tick infested hair that hung like a soaking mop head from its groin.
I don’t think I said anything but my grandfather must have seen the look on my face because he turned his head to look behind him. It was at that moment the giant grabbed him in its massive paws and with jagged yellowed teeth ripped his head off before he had time to scream. Blood sprayed everywhere coating my lawn and the surrounding street in red. I thought it might come after me but I was too shocked to move from where I stood. My grandfather was dead. Luckily it just gave a disinterested wave of it left paw and lumbered off whistling an old sea shanty.
As recognizing the existence of any giant is too much paperwork for the average small town police force my grandfather’s death was ruled a heart attack and and after a period of mourning and some therapy that definitely made me completely fine and well adjusted and didn’t just make us poorer things pretty much went back to normal.
I’ve lost a lot of friends and family to the giants over the years. My mother and sisters are gone now. So is my wife and my son Arthur. A giant took my legs a few years back. They say it was a car accident but I know the truth. I remember its teeth tearing at my knees. Not long after that I went to live with my daughter Alex. She makes me so proud. We live in a nice big house that she could afford with her tech job. Each day I would sit in my wooden rocking chair and look out the window and watch her pull into the driveway with her fancy car and then we would sit by the fire and talk and the world would be safe. In those times we could pretend there were no monsters.
It was earlier today when the news report came on TV. They said there was a fire at the building Alex worked in. They said it spread quickly and before anyone could do anything the entire structure had collapsed. There was a brief clip shown of the blaze. Somehow no one saw fit to mention that massive emerald green dragon flying in the sky above. I turned off the TV and tried to call her phone but because young people don’t set up voicemail anymore it just went to that annoying automated system. She must have gone out to lunch I told myself barely managing to believe it. Then I sat and waited.
She’s a little more than an hour late getting home now but there’s every chance she’s stuck in traffic. Part of me knows she’s not coming but I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with that reality. I try and imagine a way things can be okay again but nothing comes to mind. This isn’t a fairy tale world. There is no happily ever after only the monsters.