Believe in Giants
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Hello, my name is Alice, and I believe in giants. Old Ms. Susan says it’s an overactive imagination, so does Mr. Scott, but they knew the same things I did once. As they did with the giants, before something took away their belief in the impossible. You see, I am not important or special. I cannot get good grades in math like John, run fast like Sarah, or be popular like the Sconce teens, but I am the only one in this town who knows that giants once roamed these hills.

———————

Since I’ve known myself as a person, the giants have always been here. Mr. Scott, an old hunter, keeps a plaster cast of a massive footprint he found while exploring the woods outside town. He keeps it out for people all around to come and speculate what may have left it. The giants must have even been here before he was born, because the elders of the town tell me stories, even when they were little, of colossal figures striding across the plains under the summer moonlight. Before I even saw them for the first time, I had grown used to their humongous footsteps lulling me to sleep as I lie in bed.

I remember that first experience like it was yesterday. One night, a giant got fairly close to our farm to observe my father’s cattle, and caused quite a ruckus that woke me from my sleep. As I peered out my bedroom window, I saw the titanic figure for the first time. My curiosity got the best of me, so I grabbed my trusty binoculars and shimmied out of bed. Then I climbed over the old sill and onto the porch to get a closer look at the beast.

The grass was wet from dew as I ran down towards the pasture where the cows were currently enjoying the cool night air, unaware of the quietly watching giant. As I approached the fence, I was alarmed by the startled moo of a cow, scared half to death as the large figure had gently plucked it from the field. The sorry bovine flailed its legs wildly, as the giant curiously observed it. Against my better judgement, I leaped out from my position by the fence and shouted. “Hey! Put that down!” I yelped, as loud as a 17 year old girl could. The giant's ears perked up as it looked in my direction, and it slowly lowered the terrified cow to the ground, which dashed off to join its family in the barn.

It was now that I realized what my actions may have caused. But my fears were quickly calmed as the gigantic creature stalked forward and sank to its knees, looking almost sorry for what it had done. It was beautiful, in a lonely sort of way, huge and human-like. But I was amazed to see it had pointy ears and hair all over! It sniffed me, and let out a trembling vocalization. “Hello small creature,” it rumbled, ears sagging down so it looked as pitiful as could be. “Have I displeased you?”.

Taken aback by the giant's grasp of language, I stumbled and looked for words. "You can talk?"

The giant raised an eyebrow. "Of course I can, I have a mouth."

I was scared but also fascinated. The creature didn't seem like it wanted to hurt me, it looked almost as intrigued by me as I was by it. I wanted to learn more about it, so I tried thinking of topics to discuss. But nothing came to mind as those big and friendly eyes stared at me, until the creature spoke up and pointed at my binoculars.

"What is that called, and what does it do?" it asked.

"Oh, these? They're called binoculars. They let me see things that are far away." That gave me an idea for a topic, so I put on the binoculars and looked the creature over. "For example, I can see that there is something between your teeth!"

The beast went wide-eyed, and uprooted an entire tree from the ground to use as a toothpick. The sound of roots being pulled free from soil were very loud and startled several birds into flying away. I thought the beast might wake up my parents if it kept causing so much destruction, so I jumped and shouted with all my might.

"NO! STOP!"

The creature almost immediately put the tree down and apologized. I sighed, trying to think of how to deal with this incredible situation. That was when another idea hit me.

"What is your name?"

"It's Bogart! What is yours, little one?"

"I'm Alice. Do you like learning new things, Bogart?"

"Sure do! Even more when it's about humans. You are so tiny but you make so many big things!"

"OK then. Would you like me to show you all the cool things around here?"

"That sounds like fun! But your legs are so much smaller than mine, it would take forever."

"That is where you are wrong. Let me climb onto your shoulder, and I'll use my binoculars to show you the cool things!"

Bogart smiled from ear to ear, and knelt before me with his open palm. Each of his fingers was twice as tall as me and much wider, but there was a lot of hair to hold onto. I held back a scream as I was lifted high into the air and placed on his shoulder, giving me a big view of the farm.

"Alright, Bogart. Where do you wanna go first?" I asked, as we headed off into the night.

This was the first of many adventures I had with Bogart, and one of the most memorable. I showed him the old well, the barn, and the outskirts of town too! He said that he had never been this close to a human settlement before, and that it felt “a good kind of strange” to be interacting with a human itself. I made sure to warn him that not all humans would understand him, and that he should be extra careful when dealing with others. I’m afraid he did not understand, as he acted confused at the thought of a human being different then me.

We had just passed Mr. Rizkamp’s farm when I heard a rooster crow, and I was so shocked that I nearly fell off of Bogarts gigantic shoulder. “It’s almost morning, I have to get home!” I gasped, and explained to Bogart the necessity of staying on my parents good side. It took some convincing, but in no time at all we were bounding across the pastures behind my house. I said my farewells, promised that we would meet again the same time next week. The giant knelt down, leaving me level with my bedroom window. I hopped in, and turned to see the massive figure walking off towards the rising sun.

———————

It was after many more meetings with Bogart, that I learned more about his friends and family. He said he had been around for thousands of years, but was unaware if giants and humans measured the time the same way. He also mentioned that his earliest memory was being born “from a boulder, on a moor, surrounded by his friends”. I even met some of these “friends” as well! Many were even bigger then Bogart, and had names that were difficult to pronounce. The young ones would have wonderful conversations about the plants they eat, or the rocks they would play with, while the older ones would carefully investigate my claims of human culture and habits.

It was on a fateful day in April, I believe, when everything changed. It was already a strange day, as helicopters had been buzzing around the town all morning. One of the neighbors had mentioned something about the Illuminati, or some other secret organization, but nobody payed him much attention. Now you see, I had plans to sneak off after lunch to meet with Bogart behind the old barn, but to my surprise, he neglected to show up. This was very out of character for him, as he had always shown himself to be incredibly punctual. I grew fearful that something bad had happened, and I ran immediately to Old Susan, who was the oldest member of the city council. She was known as a little crazy, as she had always shared stories of her encounters with “massive beasts” when she was young. As I showed up on her doorstep, I knocked urgently, and she slowly opened the door.

Susan was wise, even beyond her advanced years, but barely able to walk without her cane. She was very happy to see me, inviting me in for some milk and cookies. As I sat down on her lavish couch, I asked her forwardly, “Ms. Susan, do you know all those stories you told me and the other kids about giants?”

She looked at me with confusion and a hint of concern. "What are you talking about, Alice? I don't remember ever doing that. Are you sure you're not thinking of some book you read as a child?"

I frowned in disappointment and confusion as well. "But…Ms. Susan, they were some of your favorite stories. Kids from all over town would come to your house to hear them."

"Sweetie, kids barely visit me anymore. I think you're just daydreaming too much. Why, I might be old, but I know I'd remember something like that."

I put the cookies and milk down and breathed in and out with difficulty. "Ms. Susan, if this is a prank, it's not funny."

The elderly lady was shocked. "It feels more like you're the one trying to pull a prank on me. What happened? This isn't like you at all."

"What happened? I just lost my best friend! And you are saying you never heard of him! How could you!"

Susan gasped. "Alice! Please listen to yourself. You need to calm down! Have you been eating and sleeping right? You could be getting a fever. That can make people have strange thoughts."

I began tearing up and just barely held back my sorrow and anger. "I'm sorry, Ms. Susan. I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to snap at you. But…something horrible might have happened, and I need to make sure it's not too late."

I left and ran toward the house of Scott, who had a cast of a giant's footprint as one of his most famous possessions. When I arrived and knocked desperately on his door, I was greeted with a smile and the same concern of Ms. Susan.

"Heya Alice. Why the long face? Ya startled me with that knocking. Did something serious happen?"

I asked him through strained breath if he still had that cast of the footprint. He raised an eyebrow like I was going crazy. "What makes ya think I have anything like that? All I really have to show are animal heads mounted above my fireplace."

I panicked and started pulling at my hair in frustration. "Hey kid, don't be like that. What's gotten into ya? Have ya been watching too much TV or something? Ya should be more responsible, ya know. Too much TV is bad for the brain."

That was the last straw for me. The only remaining person in this town who could help had also forgotten everything. I kicked at the dirt as I cried my eyes out and ran away, shouting Bogart's name.

I never found him. I still walk the pastures near my house some days, searching for something, an uprooted tree, or maybe even a large footprint. It’s been no use. Everyone who I've spoken to since has insisted I forget about it all. I tried, I really did. I focused on my studies, on my other friendships and my plans for the future. Everything seemed so small in comparison to the wonder I had known. Everyday from morning to night felt empty. But worst of all was that constant fear that something horrible happened to Bogart, the kindest and most understanding friend I ever met. I would cry myself to sleep. I never felt like smiling. Life lost its spark.

But one night while asleep, I found myself dreaming of my friend. I could not see him, only hear his voice through the dark and foggy woods. The more I ran, the more distant his voice would get. He told me to stop running after him many times, but only after tripping and falling into the mud did I listen. His last words were quite clear as the fog parted and revealed a crystalline lake under the sun:

"Don't worry about me. Please continue on your own. Be strong, like I know you can."

I do know that Bogart would want me to be happy, so I will keep honoring him by sharing my story with others. Something took the giants away, I don’t know who, or what, but I do know this; as long as somebody remembers them, they will never truly be gone. So I will ask one thing…

Do you believe in giants?

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